If you have had difficulty with obsessive on-line gaming, cyberporn, compulsive internet surfing, excessive emailing, Facebook, Twitter, myspace, ‘Second Life’, Skype, cybersex, on-line affairs, ebay surfing, or excessive time spent on-line in other activities, you might have Internet Addiction.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if you or someone you love may have a problem:
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time 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 jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to your self, your partner, family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression, shame, loneliness or abandonment?
Other Behaviors linked to Internet Addiction Include:
-Failed attempts to limit time on Internet
-Heightened sense of euphoria, adrenaline rush, or pleasure while involved in computer and Internet activities
-Neglecting friends and family to spend time on-line
-Neglecting sleep to stay online or to ‘sneak’ on-line without significant other knowing
-Being dishonest with others about what you are doing with your time
-Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
-Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome due to excessive typing on a keyboard
-Withdrawing from other previously pleasurable activities or hobbies to spend time on the Internet
Tips for decreasing time on the Internet:
-Give your self or your loved one a time limit for computer usage and stick to it.
-Log your Internet computer time.
-Put computer in a common area of the home so that secrecy is limited which also will limit denial
-If you are a parent or significant other, then lead by example by limiting your own time on the Internet.
-Plan time for your self or your partner or loved one that is devoted to other healthy activities such as time in nature or engaging in sports, socializing with others in person, family interactive activities, physical exercise, or hobbies.
Begin to understand the causes for escaping into the Internet realm- lack of social skills, shyness, powerlessness, depression, anxiety, boredom, relationship intimacy issues, etc
There is assistance available if you are unable to extract your self from on-line experiences, or if relationship dynamics have been seriously disrupted due to engagement in Internet activities. Seek out a trusted mental health professional, therapist or counselor. Marital or family therapy may be helpful if Internet activities are affecting the family or if children are involved in Internet addiction.
There is a wonderful world out there in the ‘real’ world- you can create what it is you believe you are gaining in the Internet realm and more, but not if you are not actively living your own real life.
Shine YOUR Inner Light Brightly (rather than your Internet-created persona) – Loads of Light to you! 🙂
Marion Ross, Ph.D. & Tracy Latz, M.D. (a.k.a. The Shift Doctors)
*Check out The Shift Doctors’ books at the Amazon link by clicking here and the Meditation CDs at the digstation link by clicking here **The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about them at www.shiftyourlife.com .