I was fortunate to have taken a four day vacation recently where I did not have any access to the internet. I really cannot remember when was the last time, that I took a vacation where I did not have any access to the internet. Probably the first time since I bought my first laptop computer ages ago. While I was packing, a strange idea hit me. I didn’t know what I am supposed to do with all my time when I did not have my laptop with me. Being online is by far the best way I can imagine myself spending my time. That led me to another thought: Am I addicted to the internet?
Internet addiction is real and if you think that I am pulling your leg, then you should speak with the folks at The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery. It is a real place (which most people will reach by searching on the net!) and deals with real people who have an addiction to the internet. I did some research and found out (to my greatest satisfaction) that I am not addicted to the internet. Well I passed their online test for that matter. I also picked up some valuable information about what internet addiction is about.
The next thing that may come to your mind is, okay I have a problem, but how do I get out of it? The following tips and suggestions might help in case you are willing to employ them.
The ‘Off’ Button
Start by turning off your computer. Sounds strange and a little too straight forward? Well if your addiction is bad enough this is the most simple of solutions. Although it may sound like quitting a drug addiction simply by throwing away the drug out of the window, but for some people this is the most effective and workable of process to quit an addiction. There are drug addicts who have tremendous will power and can quit something just like that on their own. If you are one of these people, you can do the same about your internet addiction.
Setting some rules
A simple starting point will be to set yourself some rules about using the internet. As I said earlier, that using internet too much is not the problem, the problem is when you cannot stop yourself from using it, thus it may not be required to completely shut off, but just control it to ensure that it does not become an addiction. Think about the activities that you are missing or skipping because of your addiction and start by improving those areas. You can set yourself some rules, such as that the dinner time and an hour after that would be an offline period. Ensure that you have this online time removed completely from your schedule and do not make it up by additional usage later in the night.
Friends and People
You can also join a group. Well, not the type that would go to Google or Bing to search for something, but something that is closer to the flesh and blood world out there. Often when you become addicted to the internet you start missing out on the real things that surround us. Join a group that associates itself with something that you normally enjoyed doing before you got addicted. The problem sometimes is that when you are addicted you move away from people and wish to be online more and more, which again takes you further and further away. This is a vicious cycle that you need to break to get yourself unhooked. Meeting people is safe when you do that for the purpose of sharing some common interests together.
Get to the root
Get to the root of the problem, by finding what keeps you online. Often the internet is not the problem, it is elsewhere. It can be a passion of gambling or it could even be your sexual urge that you are unable to satisfy in the real world. If you can find the real problem then you will be able to solve it faster.
Lastly if your problem is too difficult for you to solve on your own then try and find some professional help.
In my case I thank my stars that I was not addicted to the internet. I went along fine on my unplugged vacation and enjoyed every bit of it without even once craving for the internet. Well, probably once. But the fact is that it did not affect me at all and I was simply happy enjoying a life without internet for a change. In fact now I am thinking about taking some time off and enjoying internet free vacations a little more often.