September 04, 2013

Are You Addicted to the Internet ?

Are You Addicted to the Internet ?

There is no debating that that the internet and particularly smart phones have revolutionized our daily lives. These devices  allow us to connect with one another and have put amazing amounts of information at our fingertips where ever we go.  

While the benefits of this revolution are wonderful, these gadgets have also created problems. Most of us are aware of the dangers of texting while driving or even walking, but the problem is much bigger than that. Overdoing on the internet can interfere  with out work our relationships and even our emotional health. 

Today we’re talking about internet addiction and I have a quiz to help you evaluate the way you use the net and to determine if you, or someone you know, has become over dependent on their devices and the web.

A Quiz to Evaluate your Internet Use

1. How much time do you spend on the internet a day? How often / how many times a day do you check email, messages or Face book?  Do you know? Many folks are so involved with the net that they don’t even realize how much times they are spending on it and are shocked when they actually add it up.   

2. Do you get on the internet when it’s rude or dangerous ? Do you tweet or go on Face Book when you’re with someone while eating or driving?  Some folks are so involved on the net that they don’t think about the possible negative consequences. When and where you go on line are important factors to be aware of.

3. Do you get upset or anxious if you can’t get online?  Do have an urgent sense that you just have to check-in? Do you think or worry about social media when you’re not on it? Is the net so important to you that you worry about how people will or won’t respond?  In addition to the psychological rewards, our brain gives us shots of dopamine every time we see a “like” or a positive comment. Literally it is possible to get addicted to these positive responses.

4. Does being on the net ever interfere with things you have to do?  Have you neglected work, friends or a relationship because of it?  Has being on the internet ever caused a problems in any of these areas? 

5. Has anyone ever made comments that you’re online too much?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to considered restructuring or cutting back on you time online.      

Tips for Cutting Back 

  1. Become Aware.  Know how much time you actually spend on the internet. Count up the hours. Pay attention to where and when you are on.
  2. Ask yourself some questions ?  Does the internet interfere with or cause you to neglect other important obligations, responsibilities or relationships?
  3. Set reasonable limits on when, where, how much time to be online.
  4. Reality test the sense of urgency you have to get online. Think about what will happen if you don’t.
  5. Analyze the function the internet plays in your life. For many the internet is a distraction that helps them cope with problems and anxieties but also keeps them from facing them directly? If so, think of ways to address you problems and allay your anxieties in ways that are less disruptive.   

Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC, prepared these remarks for Bridge Street   9 4 2013 www.revmichaelheath.com/

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