Why is the Internet so Addicting?
But, everyone is doing it....
If you've somehow clicked something and then clicked something else which led you to click something which led you to this page, you really should take a minute before clicking something else to stop and reflect. The internet has changed the way we interact with the world. Two secrets to success are: planning and then following through on your plans. Most of us are fairly successful at doing this in some settings. Do you plan your time on the internet? We don't go into a grocery store just to walk around and see what we like. We go there with a purpose.....to buy food. Some people are better at following plans than others with a list and a budget, maybe even a stack of coupons. Others wing it. But, rarely does a person walk into a grocery store with no plan at all. We even have a vague plan when we turn on the television! Generally, we turn on the TV because we want to be entertained. Some may say that they go on the internet for the same reasons. However, the internet blurs lines between entertainment, work, errands, social life, spirituality, community, etc. The internet serves so many purposes that we start to get on the internet without knowing our purpose. Do you spend hours at a time online and then realize you didn't accomplish anything you wanted to? What all did you read or view while online in that time? Do you even remember? It's time we start re-using the internet as a tool to help us in the aspect of our lives that we value most (e.g., friendships, work, community) instead of in place of these things.
Image Source: NYDailyNews.com (Sorensen/Getty)
Me? An addict? No way!
The Psychology of the Internet - Psychological Explanations for our Obsession
1) The internet is negatively reinforcing. It is so easy to distract yourself on the internet that it is sometimes hard to remember the last page you were on once you've clicked on the next one. How's that for making you forget your worries?
2) Our lack of internet use is punished by others. Have you missed an opportunity because you didn't check your email quickly enough? Have you been left out of a social activity because you didn't check facebook? Does your boss expect an email response with 30 minutes? No wonder we're afraid to step away from the internet....
3) The internet is positively reinforcing. These days, many relationships begin or are maintained by quick communication via technology. Not to mention, there are tons and tons and tons of entertaining websites out there. Boredom? Does that even exist anymore? (Only when I don't have an internet connection!) The more we enjoy our time online, the more we are going to spend our time online in the future.
The Internet is: THE NEW TELEVISION
Do you spend more leisure time watching TV or surfing the internet (excluding watching TV shows via the internet)?
The Internet is: EASIER
In a new town and don't know anyone? The internet makes it easy for you to feel in touch with friends and family from your hometown. It's like you never left. Plus, you can friend people from your new town on facebook, join a meet-up group, and quickly find out about local activities. Lost in your new town? Hey, the internet on your iPhone will tell you where to go. Need AAA but don't know the number? Look it up on the internet. Looking for a rare collector's item? Only the internet provides you with contact with sellers all over the world. Nothing has changed the world quite like the internet.
But, there is an evil side to the ease of the internet. Why make food when you can click a few buttons and it will arrive at your front door? You don't even have to move from where you are currently sitting, because Dominos.com already has your credit card information saved. And, you don't have to talk to anyone. So, if you wanted, you could order THREE meals and no one can judge you. The internet doesn't judge.The internet has seen worse--the sex addict that can fulfull their needs discretely and anonymously, the gambling addict that can quickly transfer his or her savings to an online gambling site, and the shopping addict who spends tons of money that he or she doesn't have, while the husband or wife sits unknowingly next to them on the couch.