Health Tips for an Internet Addict
Are you an Internet Addict?
Can you answer "yes" to five or more of the following questions?(1)
1· Do you feel preoccupied with the internet? (Think about your online activity or anticipate your next online session.)
2· Do you need increasing amounts of time on the net in order to achieve satisfaction?
3· Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop internet use?
4· Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop internet use?
5· Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6· Have you jeopardised or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the internet?
7· Have you lied to family members, a therapist or others to conceal the extent of your involvement with the internet?
8· Do you use it to escape from problems (eg, feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
You can also take this quiz.
Hello. My name's Daisy and I'm an internet addict.
People occasionally tease me about the amount of time I spend on the internet, and the word "addict" has been bandied around, in a light-hearted way.
So I started out writing this hub as a humourous item. I wanted to draw together some ideas to help other "heavy" internet users like myself get a bit more balance in their lives, and give us all a bit of a kick up the bum!
After all, there is a real-world out there; one that we're in danger of missing if we're just reading about it via a small, bright screen.
But part-way through my research, I found that while the idea of internet addiction started out as an elaborate hoax, reflecting the increased time that we're spending sitting, well, right here; it is in fact now recognised by some as a real disorder. As real as any other addiction, and a growing problem in our societies in the midst of this internet era.
Reading through some of the sources, I began to realise that maybe I really was a true internet addict. Maybe you are too...
Take a look at the questions to the right. Does that sound like you?
To be honest, I can answer "yes" to at least five of these questions, and can even add a few more of my own, such as:
Do you sometimes forget to eat meals? Do you find yourself ignoring people who are trying to talk to you? Do you sometimes dream that you're online?!
And yes, the quiz confirms it; I am a bone fide internet addict!
So, am I worried? Not overly, as I see it more as trying to fit my writing hobby around my family; taking particular advantage of the quiet times when my daughter is asleep or at pre-school. Although it does spill over sometimes into the times when she's awake, which can be a problem sometimes.
But I don't really see how this is different to any other "work" activity or study undertaken at home. Indeed, my behaviour was much the same in my student days with regard to my studies, and during my spells of working from home. So does that also mean that I was a study addict, or a work addict? Well maybe.
Or perhaps I'm just in denial.
Addiction or not, when your internet activity is impinging upon your family life or your other activities, and it's starting to affect your sleep and/or your health, then it's time to take action!
Here are some suggestions I've put together, (and I'm planning on putting them into practice myself!)
- Take regular breaks. It's not good for your circulation, your joints or your sanity to stay in the same position for a long time. Set alarms, if necessary, to remind you to do this!
- Remember to eat proper meals. Fast food and ready meals just won't give you the nutrition that you need to be healthy.
- Set some more alarms to prevent you from getting so carried away that you completely miss mealtimes.
- Maybe you're concentrating so hard that you're just not hearing those alarms! If this is the case then you could try this: If you use a laptop, unplug it from the electric point and use the battery power instead. When the battery runs down, don't plug it in again. This is your cue to step away from the computer and do something else instead!
- Get some fresh air! It might be enjoyable to do lots of online activities, but it's also very draining. Going for a nice walk is the perfect antidote to staring at a screen for any length of time.
- Take a break from technology, even for a short time. Re-discover nature, hug a tree perhaps.
- Don't neglect your friends and family. Sometimes when all your attention is on your computer, you may even forget that there are other people living in your house. Talk to them occasionally!
- Set aside some time when the computer must be off! This will give you the chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones. When it's on, you might think that you're "with them", but one word answers don't cut it.
- Find hobbies that take you out of the house and away from the computer! It's healthy for your body to be active as well as your mind, and to expand your mind in other ways.
- Go out and meet people! You might think that you're very sociable with all your online friends, but there's no substitute for human contact.
- Learn to relax. You might think that web activities are relaxing, but they're not. Notice how tired your eyes get, how foggy your head feels, and how tight your muscles are after a while in front of your computer. And are you frowning? Take up a relaxing sport, such as swimming, walking, sailing, yoga or tai chi. You'll feel so much better.
- Set yourself a bed-time. And stick to it! Your body needs a certain amount of sleep to replenish itself.
And some things to think about
If your time online is cutting into the other areas of your life then you should ask yourself whether you really need to spend so much time on the web. Do you get easily distracted and find yourself doing things you didn't set out to do? Try to be stricter with yourself.
There are so many other things you could be doing. Is your time online really that important that you're foregoing all of the alternatives?
Is your online time some kind of avoidance technique? Face any problems that you have in the "real world", and take steps to deal with them. Talk things through with a friend or loved one, rather than bottling up your feelings. It might help to see a counsellor.
If you or those around you believe that your time spent on the net is a real problem, then maybe it's time to seek some specialist help.
1. Source: INTERNET ADDICTION: THE EMERGENCE OF A NEW CLINICAL DISORDER Kimberly S. Young University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Published in CyberPsychology and Behavior, Vol. 1 No. 3., pages 237-244
2. Tai Chi Photo source: Everyday Tai Chi