I’ve been toying with the idea of this article for quite some time, mulling it over in my mind…wanting to be certain I’d get it just right. I would love to write it in such a way that it impacts those who need it and strikes awareness to others. My mulling came to a screeching halt today when I read a blog post by a friend wherein she asked this question:
Is this what addiction feels like? Unable to separate myself from the one thing that is destroying me? That is leaving me feeling numb, depressed, lonely, isolated, unhappy, defeated?
Suddenly I realized it doesn’t matter what slant I use, wether or not I’m saucy in a humorous manner – it’s time to just write it out loud for the world to see, people CAN become addicted to the internet.
According to the University of Chicago News, Asst. Prof. Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and colleagues presented their research in San Diego on Jan. 27 at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Roy Baumeister of Florida State University and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota co-authored the study.Researchers found the individuals were more compulsive when it came to things such as checking email or social media accounts.
There were 10,558 responses to contacts made by researchers and a total of 7,827 reports about daily desires were recorded. In analyzing the data compiled, researchers discovered, despite the fact cigarettes and alcohol are generally thought of as addictive, the strong desire for electronic communications appears to trump these two items.
So there’s one study which supports my belief but honestly folks if you look at the people around you (including yourself) you will easily find people who are over-involved in online activity. Personally if I can’t have a 5 minute conversation with you without you looking at your phone….well chances are we won’t be having many chats in future. There is a time and a place for everything, as a blogger I’m sure some folks are irritated by my need to snap photos of everything but I can easily put down the wifi as appropriate.
So reading this article written by my friend has me writing this to you out there, I NEED you to be aware that addiction to the internet is a serious situation.
- You value your online image/persona more than you do your actual self
- You lose track of the time you spend, or you lie to yourself about how much time you have been online
- You justify your time line by saying it’s for work purposes when in actuality little work is being performed
- You obsess over checking your social profiles and messages
- You experience withdrawal-type-symptoms when you spend unregulated time online – anxiety, nervousness, irritability, etc.
- When friends/family point our your need to be online you become defensive and deny it
- Your relationships and performance at work/school suffer because you procrastinate involvement due to online activities
- You withdraw from your friends and family because you too busy building online relationships
- You engage in online disputes, becoming enraged and over-involved, often needing to prove your point to maintain your online image
- You have already unsuccessfully tried to cut back on your internet use
These are just some of the red flags which may appear, I’m sure there are many more. For now I will leave you all with a bit of hope, change in life is possible and depending on your level of addiction to the internet I would urge you to seek help by talking to your GP and using the services which are available.
If you haven’t yet reached the point where you require qualified assistance I’d urge you to take your situation seriously and work at speaking openly to someone in your life about it. By sharing you’ll be bringing the problem into the light and unable to hide from it.
Obviously I would recommend you limit your time spent online, replace the time with some healthy activity such as exercise, a 12 step group, time with loved ones or a sport you enjoy.
You must get real with it, it’s not socially acceptable to spend 10 hours a day one line, much like it was socially acceptable for me to drink a 24 of beer in one sitting.
The first step in any addiction is to admit you need help and be willing to get honest.
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