The Internet is one thing that has totally revolutionized the world and the way we live. It is another world of its own, with so much possibility and potential. There are more reasons why people use the Internet than most people are aware of. For learning, for selling, to share information, to buy, to communicate etc. For most people, life will simply be unbearable without the Internet. It has been incorporated into almost every area of life as we now know it. In the classroom, the lecturer or teacher needs the Internet to teach and the students need it for more information. At the hospital, the doctor needs the Internet to carry out his functions effectively. At the supermarket, the sales people and managers need the Internet to advertise and keep in touch with customers. If you feel bored, you can get entertainment from the Internet. It seems that the Internet has a solution to almost everything in life. The importance of the Internet for the smooth functioning of today’s world cannot be overstated and because of the necessity, those who take things to the extremes now have a problem with excessive Internet use.
Our lives and daily activities have become so connected to the Web that people seem to need Internet connection every minute. That would never be any problem if they knew how to keep things in check and avoid excessive Internet use. But most people don’t and its causing so much confusion in their lives. It is possible to be addicted to the internet and more so, there are different levels of addiction. Worse still, the internet has other smaller components in itself which have very strong addictive tendencies. Things like social media and pornography. It may be ridiculous to say, but many people who are addicted to the internet don’t even know that they are addicted. That’s because often times, being addicted to the Internet is something that could go unnoticed for a long time or simply ignored. So it is only fair we look at how one can tell if he or she is addicted or not.
How to tell if you are addicted to the Internet
Sometimes, the fact that you use the Internet very often does not mean that you are addicted to the internet. However, the amount of time you spend on the internet on a daily basis could actually serve as a determining factor to internet addiction.
Time spent on the Internet
It is difficult to tell just how much time is too much time to spend on the Internet. However, I believe it is not too difficult or complicated to tell if one is spending too much time on the Internet. At the end of each day, you can check the approximate amount of time you have spent on-line, especially time spent on social media. Being addicted to the Internet is very closely related to the amount of time spent for non work or recreational purposes. Compulsive web surfing and Internet overuse which keeps people on-line for longer than necessary are evidences of an advanced stage of Internet addiction.
What you are doing on the Internet
Since most people have jobs that require them to be on the Internet very often, the time spent online during work hours cannot be considered when trying to determine if a person is addicted to the Internet or not. So what you must do is consider how much time you spend on the Internet doing things that are not work related. If you spend five hours daily on the Internet, how much of that time is used for work purposes and how much of it is used for leisure? If you are spending a greater proportion of your time on leisure and that time amounts to more than three hours a day, there is a chance that you may be addicted to the Internet.
other Internet addiction symptoms could include
- Inability to keep schedules and plans. People who are addicted to Internet surfing would usually find it difficult keeping their schedule, such people often catch themselves switching between work tabs on browsers and tabs that have been opened for leisure. This inevitably interferes with work schedule and before you know it, it’s past deadline and you have not been able to keep your own schedule. For people with Internet addiction and compulsive web surfing issues, it is difficult to follow through on a predetermined schedule without yielding to the temptation of checking some site or social media feed. Being addicted to the Internet makes it difficult to concentrate on one particular thing and carry it through to the end.
- Little or no sense of time. Another vital sign of Internet addiction and compulsive web surfing and Internet overuse is insensitivity to the passage of time. When you find that because of your activities on the Internet, you cannot keep track of your time, it is a call for concern. You may just be addicted to Internet surfing. Time is one thing that helps us keep track of schedules and responsibilities. Loosing track of time because of Internet activities is a sign that one is actually sacrificing more important things as a result of Internet distractions and it is something worth looking into. Those who are held in the grip of compulsive web surfing often find it very difficult keeping track of their time and schedules.
- Denial when faced with the issue; Sometimes, denial could be a strong sign that someone is addicted to Internet surfing. Usually people who are addicted to Internet surfing hate themselves for it. They often have to remember their failure in other areas of life because of this addiction and accepting that it is a problem before others simply seems unbearable. Someone who is addicted to the Internet may deny it sternly, as if to say “never accuse me of such a thing again”. But all that is simply because he or she is guilty.
- Obsession: You are obsessed about the Internet and love to check on the sites and social media feed you are connected to. The obsession seems to drive you out of control as you cannot stay for a while without wanting to go on-line.
- Loss of Focus.One common thing amongst people who are addicted to the Internet is the constant loss of focus they usually experience. It is difficult to concentrate on more important things, especially for extended periods of time without loosing focus. If you have problems with maintaining focus because of the Internet, you are probably addicted to Internet surfing. The following tips and steps will help you regain control of yourself and be more productive in life as you seek to deal with excessive Internet use.
Dealing with internet addiction
No matter how addicted you may be to the Internet, there are actually things you can do to change the situation.
Count the cost
In order to get rid of Internet addiction, you should start by counting the cost. What are you giving up or missing because of your addiction to the Internet. There are so many things people who are addicted to the Internet loose.
It could be your relationship with people and family. Internet addiction has a way of causing people to frequently withdraw from normal relationships as they seek satisfaction from the web. You stay in the illusion that you have so many friends but sadly most of those friends are only virtual. Most of them you may not even know personally. You may already have about a thousand of them on social media, a large number of following on Instagram and other platforms. Its easy to be deceived into thinking these people are really important in your life. They make you feel famous and important by liking your Facebook post or retweeting. But amidst these illusions you are very lonely and always wanting attention and affection because you somehow despise real relationships for Internet satisfaction. You may have noticed that it is increasingly difficult keeping up conversations with family and friends because you simply don’t know how to relate with them anymore.
On the job, you have been warned once or twice about your lack of focus and attention which are evident in decreasing performance. Internet addiction, you know, is almost costing your job but you just have not yet taken it serious enough to make a firm decision to quite. Take a while, consider your performance over the last months. Have there really been improvements or are you struggling to simply keep up with a particular level of attainment.
At home, you should consider the fact that your kids and spouse or parents may be starving of your attention and slowly but surely loosing the relationship you share because while everyone seems to be having a great time in the living room, you are simply lost on the Internet as you sit there staring at your phone through it all.
Now the day is over and just before you fall off to sleep, you must check in to revisit your best website one more time or check to see how many likes you have on the last Facebook post you updated before leaving the office or how many people have viewed the senseless picture you put up on your WhatsApp status. By the time you are really ready to sleep, you have loosed about an hour of rest time already. Tomorrow is not a holiday so you have to get up early and prepare for work but its difficult since you did not have enough sleep the previous night. Then you are late at the office again and the boss is on your case. Clearly, you simply have a problem at work, but all along, the real problem has been your inability to handle that uncontrollable appetite to go on-line just one more time. There are so many things being addicted to the Internet could cost a person and loosing your job is just one of them.
If you can sincerely consider all these things, it will be clear to you just how much you are giving up because of excessive Internet use. It may help you to simply get things back on track and be more serious about the whole issue of Internet overuse.
Set daily goals
Once you know what addiction to the Internet is costing you, it is easier to get down to taking actions that help you deal with the issue. Even those who are caught up in the trap of compulsive web surfing and Internet overuse can overcome it more easily by setting daily goals. One of such things you have to do is set daily goals for yourself. It is easier to be distracted when one has no clearly established goal for his or her time. If you have to work in the following and you know the Internet always gets in the way of your work, you should make your goals for the day even more definite and clear. One way to go about this is to write down those goals and place them on your desk so that yo are constantly reminded of the work load you have and can better focus on accomplishing it.
While at home you could do the same thing. Just this time, your daily goals may involve house chores. You could decide to mow the lawn or take care of the garden if you are going to be home. This will help keep your mind away from the Internet at least for a while and with time and discipline to do this consistently, you will find it less difficult dealing with Internet addiction if you have your daily goals in perspective each day and can take accomplishing those goals seriously.
- Use a daily plan or schedule
After setting daily goals, you should have a daily schedule that guides you through those goals. This will help you better use your time. When you are conscious of the fact that the time you are using to browse is supposed to be for some other specific purpose, and understand that no other time is scheduled for that particular task, you will definitely want to stay off the Internet at that time.
Schedule time for browsing. This is one of the most powerful strategies to help you get over an addiction to the Internet. Treating the Internet like a taboo in order to deal with the addiction will only make the whole issue seem about five times more difficult than it actually is. Unless you are involved in Internet crime or other Internet addictive issues like pornography, it will do you a lot of good to just decide what time within the day is dedicated to using the Internet. As you discipline yourself to use the Internet only at that time, you gain more control over your desire to use the Internet.
Consider and make use of substitute activities
Most often than not, people use the Internet for entertainment. As a way to relieve the stress of other activities. That why we want to see what other people are putting up on the Internet. The videos, the write ups, the pictures and every other thing. But there are other activities you can engage in to help get your mind off the Internet and wear off the addictive tendencies. If you are already addicted to the Internet, the worse thing you need is idleness. You must make up your mind to fill in every moment doing other things which of course could be more beneficial than wasting time surfing the net.
Playing off-line video games could be a great relief for those who are really into computer or on-line games. Better still try to use manual games, just anything that will keep you off the Internet and help you deal with excessive Internet use.
Turn off alerts
If you are going to break Internet addiction, you cannot keep being reminded about what is happening on-line. Alerts from mails, websites and especially social media could be very difficult to resist for those who are just starting out dealing with the addiction. So once you have decided to decrease the amount of time you spend on the net, start by turning off those alert. This will help ensure that when next you go on-line, you really have something to do on-line, not simply because an alert drew you to the computer screen or to your phone.
Practice Internet abstinence
Doing this may be radical but you will definitely get over Internet addiction faster. Just stay away from the Internet entirely for some time. You could start with a week or so. This may not be possible for those who have to work on-line but they too could decide not to go on-line for any reason not related to work for a week. By the end of a week, as you discipline yourself to live by that decision, you will notice that the Internet is not as vital as you thought it was.
Deactivate social media accounts for a while
For those who simply cant stay off the Internet for one reason or the other, you can simply decide to stay off social media. About 70% of Internet addiction springs from social media. If a person is addicted to the Internet and he or she can actually stay off social media for a while, then staying off the Internet or reducing the time spent on-line will be way easier than trying to do away with everything at once. To stay away from social media, you may have to deactivate some of your social media accounts if not all, especially those which you use very often. This will definitely help you deal with the addiction faster.
Most times, people try and fail to deal with Internet addiction because their friends are the main problem. On social media especially, its about talking with friends. When you decide to stay off the Internet for a while, you need to inform your friends about your decision so that they do not draw you back into it unnecessarily by trying to communicate with you through the Internet. If you have the kind of friends who can support and help you deal with social media addiction, letting them know could be a step towards the right direction since they may actually help you deal with it by respecting your decision. It does not help to struggle against Internet addiction if you have friends who keep trying to draw you back into it.
Talk to someone who can keep a watch on you
Being addicted to the Internet may not be as complicated as addiction to drugs and other such substances but talking to someone will help in both cases. It will be easier dealing with Internet addiction if you decide to involve someone who can help you with the process. It is best to talk to someone you live with and someone who is older. If you tell someone you respect about the problem and he or she willing to help you, once you have made the necessary commitments or taken decisions to enable you stay on track that person will definitely encourage and guide you through it all.
Dealing with Internet addiction may not be as difficult as you may think it is. You simply need to make the right choices and hold on to them for a few weeks. When you decide to put some or all of the tips here into practice, make up your mind to stay committed for about three weeks. It is scientifically proven that people can adapt to changes if they adhere to those changes for about twenty one days continuously. After about three weeks of practicing these tips, your attachment to the Internet will certainly be minimized. It may seem difficult at certain points but just keep at it. At a certain stage you will be glad you made the decision to break off from Internet addiction.