Being addicted to the internet is very common in the era when all you need is available online. Be it searching for information for your college assignments, planning your vacations and trips, looking for clothes or accessories, entertaining yourself, binge-watching series, or staying connected with your families and friend, everything is available on the internet for your convenience. With such a wide area of services and excellent offerings, it is easy to lose your grip and slip into internet addiction.
Like so many others, I also wasn’t spared. Before I knew it, I was stuck in the web with no escape. I had gone so deep into the maze that I just kept getting lost. I would go online every fifteen minutes in search of some new juice to make me feel better but would end up feeling dejected. Social media was sucking the life out of me, and I got into the habit of sleeping late after surfing the net all night.
Binge-watching series or scrolling Facebook and Instagram after midnight made me drowsy and less energized the next day. It kept getting worse with every passing day. Sometimes I would spend all my day and even nights on the web. I forgot how to enjoy myself with my real friends and family and was deeply engrossed in the virtual world.
Ringing bells and red flags
I stopped going out and made my mobile phone and laptop my only friends. It got even worse when the COVID- 19 pandemic hit the world, confining us to our homes with only the internet as our support and savior. All the school and college assignments, attending classes, staying connected with friends, and just passing the time required us to log on to the internet.
One day I checked the screen time on my mobile device, and it was six hours. I checked my laptop, and it was even worse – seven hours! Then it hit me, I was spending approximately two-thirds of my life on the internet. This is bad! “I shouldn’t be doing this to myself,” I thought. I also realized that the internet was not only sucking up all my time, but it also made me anxious. When I went online, I felt anxious about why something new wasn’t happening, and when I was offline, I was anxious that I was missing out. It was severely affecting my mental health, and I knew I had to do something.
The Real Battle
This wasn’t the first time I realized that I have been using the internet too much, and it was also not the first time I had tried stopping it. This has happened to many people. Time and again, we have tried and failed to control our internet addiction or relapsed. But for me, this time was different. Thirteen hours is almost all my waking day. I had to accept that my mental health was deteriorating.
After identifying the problem, there were a few solid steps I took to control my addiction. If you have a problem with internet addiction, these steps can help you, too:
1. Set goals to stop internet addiction
You know what you are suffering from, and thus you need to set realistic goals. You cannot suddenly decide that you will stop using the internet. It simply doesn’t work! Set goals that you can actually achieve. Reduce your screen time slowly and start cutting down internet-time in short amounts. This way, you will not relapse and be in an internet-frenzy but will be able to gain control over your habit in a slow and gradual manner.
2. Identify the activities that you do most on the internet
In order to control internet addiction, you need first to identify which activities you spend most of your time on.
- Are you playing games?
- Posting or scrolling social media
- Watching series or videos
- Reading and sharing on social media
Once you identify where you spend most of your time, you need to be disciplined. Block the websites and eliminate the apps that contribute the most to your addiction. If it is hard to leave them at once, then you can set time limits for these things and stick to them!
3. Abstinence from the activities that trigger your internet addiction.
Sometimes there are certain activities that trigger your internet addiction. For some, it might be games, or scrolling social media, or watching series, or chatting. Complete abstinence from such activities might be a viable option if you are finding it hard to control them. Though you can still do other activities on the internet that you find less anxiety-inducing or addictive.
4. Take a personal inventory to replace internet addiction
An empty mind is the internet’s (i.e., Devil’s) workshop. You need to figure out what you are going to do with the time you have left when you are not on the internet. Maybe you had stopped playing sports like football, basketball or spend less time going for walks or hiking. Start these activities again. It is important to keep yourself busy and try to avoid being idle at all times.
5. Family Therapy
Family support is important for dealing with any type of addiction.
- Educate your family on how addictive the internet can be and what problems you are facing.
- Family members should avoid blaming addicts and instead try to be supportive and helpful.
- Improve communication with the family members who may have initially driven you to find comfort online.
The main problem with the internet is how easy and convenient it is for us to use. We quickly lose track of time and forget the purpose for which it was made in the first place, i.e., helping humans and making life easier. Don’t be a slave of something you are supposed to be the master of. We created the internet, and we shouldn’t be troubled because of something we created. Only you know what you are doing to yourself and whether you have a problem controlling your urges. If you do have the problem, then work on it, have faith in yourself, and keep pushing. It wasn’t late for me, and it isn’t late for you!
About the Author: April Green is an average college student trying to write on issues and problems faced by her generation. She writes for Days We Live to make life easier for the younger generation.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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