Internet addiction is a very real and very draining problem. Our shared obsession with life online has spread with a speed that can hardly be understood. Today, over 40% of the world population has personal access to the Internet. Of course, as a learning tool, the importance of the Internet cannot be understated; it’s essentially all the information you could ever need at your fingertips. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to develop a severe addiction to the ever-updating streams of material. Here are 9 suggestions for you to use to help get over your Internet addiction.
1. Think about why you are addicted.
Are there other reasons besides “the Internet is awesome” that make you addicted to it?
Research shows that individuals who suffer from Internet addiction often have other underlying problems. Do you have high levels of anxiety that discourage you from other activities? If you’re lonely, do you seek socialization through the Internet?
If you think deeply about the root causes of your addiction and focus on those instead, you’ll not only know more about yourself, but also be one step closer to overcoming your dilemma.
2. See a therapist.
Don’t be embarrassed about your situation. The Internet is a massive beast, and others are becoming addicted to it worldwide every day. Fortunately, just by talking about it with a therapist, you’ll gain the confidence and resources needed to overcome your addiction.
If you’re anxious, remember that most therapists have experience with conditions far more destructive than an Internet addiction. Being open and honest with your therapist is the key to self-discovery.
3. Stop obsessively checking sites.
Many of those addicted to the Internet will repeatedly browse the same websites over and over again every time they’re updated. Think about why you frequent certain websites and what you’re actually getting out of them. Is the entertainment you’re receiving worth it?
If you think you’ve developed a habit of regularly going to the same pages without thought, you’re likely suffering from Internet addiction. Don’t worry though; recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to recovery!
4. Think about all the other things you could spend your time on.
For those severely addicted to the Internet, it can be difficult to remember just how satisfying life is outside of it. You only live once…do you really want to spend the majority of your time sitting still and looking at a screen?
If you were to tally up all of the hours you’ve spent online and put them towards something more productive, such as making art, exercising, or building relationships, you’d probably be miles ahead in that category. Although it might not feel like it sometimes, the Internet is very limiting, not just for your enjoyment, but also for your body and mind.
5. Make a plan to limit your time online.
Once you’ve committed to overcoming your Internet addiction, the first major step is to limit your time spent online. Start by choosing a healthy amount of time (depending on your average use) and try to bring it down slowly. Once you set this duration, there’s no turning back. Shut off your computer once you’ve reached your self-imposed time limit.
This exercise will teach you great discipline in addition to minimizing your time lost online. It will also encourage you to only check your favourite websites once, as opposed to repeatedly visiting them until you pass out in bed.
6. Don’t use your phone for anything except for email.
Your new smartphone is perhaps the greatest factor that makes your Internet addiction worse. Gone are the days when phones were used just for the purposes of calling and texting. Now, your smartphone is essentially a computer that fits in your pocket.
If you suffer from Internet addiction, it is highly suggested that you never access the Internet on your phone, except perhaps your email for work purposes. Constant Internet use on your phone won’t just fuel your addiction; it will run your wallet empty in no time by burning through expensive data minutes!
7. Find new hobbies that don’t have to do with the internet.
If you spend more time on the Internet than any other activity, consider yourself an addict. If this sounds like you, picking up a new hobby is highly suggested. Exercising in any form is a great way to refresh your mind and body. An instrument can be just as addicting as the Internet if you’re willing to learn the basics.
Challenge yourself to feel more alive. If you’re having difficulty thinking of a hobby that would be right for you, consider the activities you used to enjoy before you were obsessed with the Internet, and try returning to them.
8. Return to nature.
Sometimes, an Internet addiction requires drastic measures to overcome. Consider going on an extended camping trip or lengthy vacation to somewhere new.
Don’t bring your phone or computer with you. By putting yourself in a nature setting, your mind will reset and you will rediscover all of the emotions, physical sensations, and overall wonderful experiences that the Internet has taken away from you. These types of experiences will remind you that humanity itself has been around far longer than the Internet, and that we simply aren’t wired to spend so much time online.
9. Quit using the internet.
This might not be an option for those who rely on the Internet for work purposes. If you aren’t bound by anything though, quitting the Internet altogether can be an eye-opening and extremely beneficial decision.
Think about how much the Internet has affected society’s collective mindset in such a short time. The Internet was meant to be a tool, but it’s slowly becoming another monster altogether. If you quit now, you might feel left out at first, but you’ll unquestionably learn to appreciate life more outside of it.
Internet addiction is not to be taken lightly, and can be just as serious as any sort of substance addiction. Whether you’re already severely addicted, or just feel that you’re on the way there, strongly consider these steps to avoid totally giving yourself up to the Internet. Reality is just a few steps away!