The Internet is an excellent resource to learn, connect with old friends, and even launch your business. However, there's a fine line between using it for personal growth and using it excessively.
Excessive Internet use can be detrimental to you and those you love.
Here's a closer look at what Internet addiction is.
10 Ways to Overcome Internet Addiction - In This Guide
What is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction is where you place a dependency on using it for your personal needs. This distortion in priorities can impact your work performance, how you engage with others, and your health by way of sleeping patterns, how you manage stress and more. Throughout 2014, 420 million people around the world were addicted to the Internet. Internet addiction is real, and it certainly needs to be addressed.
Internet Addiction Symptoms
It's easy to become addicted, as the Internet supplies ample entertainment choices from social media to viral videos. With this said, if using it becomes the bane of your existence it can signify you have an unhealthy dependence on the Internet. Behaviors illustrating this addiction include:
- Checking your social media pages impulsively when you should be doing work
- An unwillingness to interact with others outside of social media or instant messaging applications
- Even when you are not using the Internet you are thinking about what you will check or do online next
- Your length of use is longer than you intended
- You have tried to cut back your Internet use and have been unsuccessful
In addition, UnityPoint Health states a sign you are too dependent on the Internet concerns using it to escape from feelings of depression, guilt, and hopelessness. If you have any of these signs indicating computer addiction, there are coping mechanisms to help you.
10 Ways to Stop Internet Addiction
Internet addiction can be a serious problem. If left unresolved, it can affect all aspects of your life and in many regards rob you of the life you should have. To help you curtail your Internet use, here are 10 tips to help you.
1. Admit You Have a Problem
It takes much courage to admit you have a computer addiction. While this is the hardest step, it's also the first step towards solving the problem. By verbalizing you have a problem, you bring clarity to your mind because you are being honest. This honesty can help you realize how unhealthy your Internet behaviors were.
2. Find an Accountability Partner
After admitting your technology addiction to yourself, you should find someone you trust and share with them your problems. During this time, communicate in vivid details your emotional triggers for going online often. When you share your addiction with someone else, he or she can help you remain accountable by keeping you on point when setting behavior goals and be a source of comfort so you don't feel like you are going through this alone.
Read More: Technology addiction is no laughing matter. If you suspect you're suffering from cell phone addiction, you should take a moment to read our guide on breaking cell phone addiction.
3. Limit Your Computer Use
Next, you need to alter your behaviors. The best way to do this is to take control of your computer use. To demonstrate, use a kitchen timer and set it for 30 minutes. Once that timer sounds, get up and move away from the computer. By setting times, it limits your use which frees you up for more important endeavors. You can also limit your computer use with parental control software. Though this software is essentially for kids, you could also use the software - especially with the help of a family or friend - to limit your computer usage.
4. Change Communication Patterns
Instead of spending time online messaging your friends and family, set up a time to meet in person--if applicable. As you change your communication patterns, you'll lessen your need to be online.
To dovetail off the previous point, along with shifting communication patterns you should make spending time with friends and loved ones a priority. Take your parents to dinner, set up a regular coffee hour with friends, or join Meet Up groups to find people with similar interests. The more you socialize, the more you develop your interpersonal skills and build stronger relationships with those you care about the most.
6. Prioritize Your Needs
Making your needs the main focus is a great way to alter your behaviors to align with your new direction. To illustrate, if you are a student with homework, instead of spending hours online when you get home, you set a goal to do your homework first. Not only will this help you tackle the items you have to do the most, it provides you with a sense of satisfaction. This feeling of fulfillment could prompt you to embark on other self-improvement endeavors.
7. Find Outside Interests
There are many activities you can do without the need for a computer or smartphone. Most communities have volunteer opportunities, sports teams, and civic groups you can be a part of. You could also participate in church, start hobbies like making crafts, or join a gym. What's beneficial about these ideas is that many require you to go outside, meet new people, and make differences, either in your life or the lives of others. This can give you a sense of fulfillment you initially looked for from the Internet.
Related: Kickstart your workout and measure your progress using a Fitness Tracker.
8. Adhere to a Schedule
It's easy to spend ample time online when you don't think of those moments and hours as precious resources. However, if you develop a schedule, where you outline the things you want to accomplish each day, it places importance on spending your time on things that matter the most to you.
9. Keep Devices Inaccessible
If you are struggling to stay off the Internet, then it's a good idea to refrain from having access to those devices as you seek to change your behavior. Have a friend or loved one keep your computers and give them access to your cell phone provider so they can turn off Internet usage on your smartphone.
Related: How to Check Your Mobile Data Usage
10. Address the Cause
There's a reason why you spent a large amount of time online. By identifying the emotional triggers which prompted this, it can help you understand how you reached this point. Should you struggle to identify the causes, you could seek a reputable therapist, as he or she can provide the fresh perspective you need.
These 10 tips can help you break Internet addiction. When you have reduced your reliance on the Internet, you will find it's a great resource to access when used wisely. You can teach your children Internet safety tips. You can read more about internet providers in your area here.