Since Leonard Kleinrock pioneered the Internet in 1961, this technological tool has shrunk the world. We can instantly chat face-to-face with a friend who lives across the globe, learn Mandarin from someone who lives in China, and find out what causes annoying earaches. Despite its benefits, however, the Internet can cause problems.
7 Signs of an Internet Addiction
Increasingly, I see people of all ages becoming addicted to the Internet. If you or a loved one experience one or more of the following seven signs of an internet addiction, you may suffer from an Internet addiction, and I urge you to seek help immediately.
1. Spending More Time Online
Do you find yourself wishing you had more time to get everything done during your 24-hour day? You probably spend at least eight of those hours working, and Harvard Medical School recommends that adults sleep for seven and a half to eight and a half hours. That leaves you with roughly eight hours to spend with family, run errands, and enjoy free time. You might be addicted to the Internet if you find yourself spending so much time online that you run out of time to do anything else.
2. Neglecting Family and Friends
Do your family members and friends ask you to put down your phone, laptop, or tablet when you’re together? They want and deserve your undivided attention, and you can’t provide that when you’re constantly online.
3. Withdrawing From Other Activities
Do you know when you last participated in a fun activity that didn’t involve an Internet-enabled electronic device? Personally, I enjoy participating in stress-relieving outdoor activities, but many hobbies rejuvenate you and allow you to enjoy your interests and passions. When you’re online so much that you can’t enjoy activities you used to love, you have a problem.
4. Avoiding Responsibilities
Do you avoid attending school, going to work, or performing household chores because you would rather be online? Like it or not, you have responsibilities. Neglecting these important duties because you want to play games or look at online porn indicates the presence of an Internet addiction.
5. Lying About Your Online Time
Do you lie about the amount of time you spend online or about the sites you visit? Ethics are important at work, for schools and governments, and in your daily life. Dishonesty about your online activities indicates that you’re hiding something, and that means you know your actions aren’t okay. Stop hiding and get help today.
6. Craving Online Time
Do you find yourself wishing you could be online when you’re doing something else? That craving indicates an unhealthy obsession. Even if you crave a good online activity, like chatting with a friend, you may have an addiction to the Internet if the only thing you can think about is getting online.
7. Feeling Guilty or Ashamed About Your Internet Usage
Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed about the amount of time you’ve spent online? According to New York University psychologists, guilt can be positive. Ideally, it pinpoints areas where you need to improve and motivates you to do better. Instead of embracing your guilt or shame and going on with life as usual, take action to make things better.
If you recognize these signs in yourself or a loved one, I encourage you to enroll in rehab. Life is too short to spend it glued to the computer. Allow a professional counselor to help you address the causes of your Internet addiction, change your habits, and develop a healthy relationship with technology.
By Angela Lambert
Photo by: Mikael Altemark (Flickr)