Can someone say, “Internet Addiction?”
The picture above may seem like an exaggeration, but if we are completely honest with ourselves, for many people it’s not that far off base. The idea of having an Internet addiction may at one time have seemed like a crazy concept, but nowadays it seems more like the norm. An estimated 267 million Americans regularly use the internet and 44% of cell phone users sleep with their smart phones next to their bed. We live in a time where if we didn’t post a status or a picture about it, for all intents and purposes, it didn’t happen. From what we had for lunch to who we saw, what our pets did to the places we want to go…there is nothing off topic or too trivial that we don’t want to share it with the world at large. That, in and of itself, may not be so bad (although there are limits to what we should share), but the real issue becomes when that need to share and see what others are sharing becomes our whole life.
A couple of days ago, I took a flight and as we prepared to take off I looked around and realized everybody was on their smartphones. i thought to myself, “Any minute now the stewardess is going to start telling people to please put their phones away.” Well, I was highly surprised when instead they simply asked that people put their phones in airplane mode. Now what’s the big deal you may ask? A couple of years ago, it would’ve been mandatory to have you’re phone completely shut off the moment the plane was ready for take off and throughout the whole flight until landing. Now, as long as it is in airplane mode, you can have your phone on the whole time. Just from what I could see in my little section, no one put their phone away. It was incredible to me to think that people were so dependent on staying “connected” that they couldn’t imagine being unplugged during the two-hour flight. This says a lot about how integrated the use of internet has become and how accustomed we have become in having it accessible at all times. It also makes it a little bit easier to understand how people can have an Internet addiction and not be fully aware of it being a problem.
In fact, most people will look at the Internet addiction and not even consider it a real problem because it has become such a big part of our everyday life, that we do not really consider it the same way we would for instance an alcohol or drug problem. Or we may look at it as a “sort of problem”, but not anything that can have a serious negative affect in our lives. The fact remains, however, that it is a problem comparable to and its hold can be similar to other addictions. Consider the smoker who is continually trying to cut down from a pack a day to half or the one who is ready to quit altogether…you’re not that far off either, the only difference is that your addiction is digital and in some ways more accessible because while smoking is prohibited in many public spaces, such as restaurants and airports, getting online on your tablet or smartphone is not. Adding to the issue is the fact that Internet addiction, unlike other addictions is an addiction that as a society we have become very accommodating with when it comes to providing its access and accepting people’s “need” for it.
Some will argue that the reason for that, is that it doesn’t carry the same harmful effects that other addictions carry, but the thing is while we have all become accustomed to being online and staying “connected”, it can actually have detrimental effects on our well-being when it is overdone. If you think about it, sitting in front of a screen for multiple hours without any activity can’t be all that healthy. It can effect us on a physical level, such as:headaches, eyesight problems, and studies have even shown that it can cause atrophying of grey matter in the brain; on an emotional/social level: it can create an inability to communicate and can create a dependency on the internet to replace interactions with others. Quite honestly, over time you’re inability to “unplug” may end up causing you problems in your relationships and even in your workplace. So what exactly is taking up our attention on the internet? People suffering from Internet addiction may find themselves spending their time online doing one or more of the following:
– Excessive Social Networking
– Excessive Online Shopping
– Compulsive Online Gambling
– Compulsive Watching of Internet Videos and/or Pornography
– Excessive Online Gaming
– Excessive Blogging/ Status Updating
At this point in the article it should be pretty obvious to you whether or not your suffering from internet addiction, but just in case here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to help you to cement whether or not you do:
1. Do you feel absorbed in the Internet?
Focus is always important when we are intent on performing a task, yet what we are talking about here is an over-the-top preoccupation that borders on obsession. Do you find yourself remembering your previous online interactions or longing to get back online the minute you’re able to do so?
2. Have you failed to give up, reduce or control your time online repeatedly?
So you know you have a problem, that’s the first step, yet try as you might you can’t seem to make any permanent adjustments in the time you spend online or quit using/checking out the sites or apps that are contributing to your problem?
3. Do you have to increase Internet time to feel satisfied with your internet use?
You get on, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough, so why not add those extra ten or twenty minutes? Or hey, why not even an extra hour…right?! That’s better….for now.
4. Do you stay online longer than you planned to often?
This one ties in with number one and differs a bit from number three. While in question number three you add time, in this instance you aren’t intentionally adding time but rather this is a case of letting time get away from you. You thought you were just going to check out some of your timelines and log off quickly and the next thing you know you’ve lost an hour or two of your time glued to a screen.
5. Do you go through mood swings when trying to cut down on your internet use or quitting?
You’ve decided you’re going to quit and all of a sudden it was like releasing the pandora’s box of anxiety, grouchiness, irritability, hyper-sensitivity, you’re easily angered and may even be dealing with a bit of hopelessness.
6. Do you lie about your Internet use?
Has it gotten to the point that you find yourself lying to family members, your therapist, or others simply to conceal the extent of your use of the Internet.
7. Have you jeopardized or risked losing your relationships or job/career opportunities because of your internet use?
You find that you’re sending all your time on the Internet when you should be working or instead of spending time with your family and friends.
8. Has the Internet become your getaway safe haven?
The Internet has become a way to escape from your problems or your go-to to relieve feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, or sadness.
If you answered yes to any of these the chances are you have Internet addiction. So what do you do now? Like any addiction, you’ll find that it can be hard for you to get your Internet addiction disorder under control, but instead of getting frustrated give us a call. At the Miami Hypnosis Center, with the use of hypnosis and different techniques we can help you overcome your Internet addiction. The internet has become an integral part of our lives, but it shouldn’t become so big a part that we lose ourselves to it. Call us today for a consultation and break free today!