Addicted to the Internet

Addicted to the Internet

Screentime is a large part of my life.Brad, internet

Yes, internet addiction is a real thing that affects about a third of the population. The definition of addiction revolves around both the inability to stop using the internet (often for games, videos or social media) and its interference with your daily life; relationships, work, health, etc. The problem is bad enough that it has its own name, Internet Addiction Disorder, and medical research. The key isn’t simply spending too much time online, but doing so in a way that puts yourself or others at risk. Some teens put themselves at risk by where and how they spend time online. Internet addiction seems to affect our brains much like other addictions in our ability to lose good judgment. Additionally, with online addiction, time online seems to light up certain pleasure centers in the brain. I know I gain mental and emotional pleasure from my blogging and social media time.

Here are some warning signs of internet addiction;

  • Preoccupied with the Internet (constantly thinks about past use or future use)- Yes!
  • Need to use the Internet with increased amounts of time to gain satisfaction
  • Have made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop the use of the Internet- Yes!
  • Restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to control Internet use
  • Often stay online longer than originally intended- Yes!

I suspect that once researchers dive deep to learn more about internet addiction, they will find that healthy, engaging relationships are what is really needed, not treatment to stop the addiction. Much like the latest research on drug addiction, researchers have learned that a lack of social connection is the root cause of most addiction. What we really need to do is value ourselves and create meaningful social connections.

Regarding my latest posts about wanting to take a digital sabbatical, I failed. I didn’t even stay away from my computer for a full day. My life is centered around the computer with my banking, communication, research, job tracking, social media, and blogging all online. In fact, I’m realizing that my online time and relationships are my main source of connection. Sadly, I rarely make the effort to connect with people in person anymore, nor do my friends, so all I’m left with is those online connections.

Thankfully, I’m not putting myself at risk or letting online time interfere with my daily life. I do spend more time online than I would like and I do want more social connection. For now, it serves me. I still go to work, handle my responsibilities, get exercise, volunteer, and occasionally reach out in person to my friends. I intend to reach out more to friends, new people, and maybe even go on a date!

The converse is that I’m very grateful for you, my family of connections from blogging. So once again, I thank you for enriching my life and giving me some connection to the larger world!

I intend to keep blogging but with a more organic approach. I’m going to let go of schedules and simply post when I have the urge to write, share, or connect. I believe that will free up time and energy to bring more passion into both my writing and life, with relationships being a priority.

Addicted to Love, BradΒ  πŸ™‚

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56 thoughts on “Addicted to the Internet

  1. I hear you. It becomes a habit — maybe it’s replaced smoking or other nervous habits in some people’s lives!
    Fact is, we do get a feeling of connection with our online friends – especially useful for people who are housebound for whatever reason.
    Maybe your goal was too broad — instead of ‘digital’, why don’t you try again with a narrower band? Maybe you won’t check Facebook or other blogs for a day. Then increase the time if that works. Going cold turkey on anything would be very hard for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Cynthia. Those are good suggestions. Next time I will narrow my focus on what I’m limiting. And I did cut back on FB, other blogs and mine for a week, but I didn’t get a real block of time away from online and realized that I’m not willing to right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post Brad. I have a theory that people who are 40 and under probably find it much harder to take time away from the internet. My theory is based on the fact that people like me who were born many years ago, grew up without any electronic connections at all. We learned to amuse ourselves, write letters, go to the bank, etc etc. without all the technology. Having said that, here I am at 72 and like you, I do my banking on line, social media, e mail connections, etc. but I do take time out, and like you some time ago I decided to be more relaxed with blog writing and now only write when I feel moved to write…. I suppose my point is that if I have found myself being too hooked into it all, imagine what it must be like for a 20 year old who has known nothing else! I notice that more and more people are speaking out about phone and internet usage…..which is good. It is about finding balance…and I am quite sure you will do that. Have a lovely day. Janet πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      • People make different types investments in life be it financial, spiritual or physical investments. The internet community and relationships that you have invested in are no less important and should be cherished as a blessing.πŸ™πŸ½You’ve worked hard Brad to establish a loyal and supportive ‘family’. But it’s great that you know that the nature of your interaction after all these years needs to be reviewed to express your growth and change. It doesn’t matter whether you were away a day, a week or a year! As long as you found that space you needed to reassess your priorites and direction. Once again welcome back I missed you!πŸ€—

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Quite an interesting subject. And a well written article on it.

    I think you show insight when you suggest that internet addictions will prove to be matters of social connections in the end. If that is proving true for other forms of addiction, then it’s likely it will prove true for internet addictions, too. Besides, experience pretty much confirms it.

    If a third of Americans are addicted — genuinely addicted — that’s of huge significance. I’d have a hard time getting my head around all the dysfunctional suffering that would cause.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not so sure if I’ve found a good balance, Brad. I think I recognized a bit of myself in your description of the addicted. I spend a lot of time on the net. Then, on the other hand, I don’t neglect my offline life that much, except for my paining. My painting has suffered. That’s why I find your post so valuable. It’s made me reflect on this matter.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we could all use some time away from the internet, Brad. Oh, how I long for the 80’s sometimes when we were just living day to day unaware of what our friends had for dinner the night before because we didn’t see it posted on FB or Instagram. There are so many gifts the internet brings us, like the connections we make in this big old blogging world. But it is essential we find some balance. Thank you for this reminder. Go get connecting, Brad, and have a beautiful week! πŸ™‚ Big hug.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It is my way of waking up in the morning but I am careful when it comes to caring on with my day. it’s going to be interesting to see what the world will be like in 20 years. So many things are changing and it has a lot to do with the internet.

    We are meant to be with one another but I noticed many people are choosing on-line relationships. It’s safe. I get it. But it’s not real. It’s fantasy. Scary when you think about it.

    This was an excellent post. I’m glad I found it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Brad! I get it! Sometimes it freaks me out how much I look at my phone (life lately has had me on the go so I have done most of my on-line stuff by phone.) I have been on a bit of a sabbatical, due to life. I miss it when I’m not here…but find it is hard sometimes to get back into the schedule of posting/reading other’s blogs etc. I have always admired your tenacity and conviction to post on such a regular schedule. I don’t know what the right answer is…I get a little sad that I am not as present here…it is so because my life changed and it is hard to get all the things in that I NEED to get in let alone WANT to get in. So I have taken pressure off myself (which is a little scary because I think I could tend to get a little lazy) and I take care of the fires that erupt in front of me first…and then I know I have to take care of my health & body…and then it is a matter of fitting in the things I WANT to do…in whatever order FEELS RIGHT. I send you lots of blessings that you will be able to handle this new way of blogging…I tend to think it might be a huge change that will take some getting used to.
    Sending lots of love…and many sweet blessings ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lorrie. I’ve missed your loving and joyful presence online and am glad that you’re taking care of your health. As you said, we each need to find the right mix of online and off that feels right for us. And you’re right, I can already feel the pull of going back to the schedule for posting, which does both keep me moving forward and feeling the pressure. I will adapt. πŸ™‚ Hugs and blessings returned!

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  7. That’s really a problem, Brad. It’s good that you think about it and try to change it. My computer is broke and I saw myself how much time I spent with it and what a lot of beautiful things I did in the time I usually spend with the computer. It takes a lot of creativity. Regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sure you’ll find your balance soon… I couldn’t imagine posting more than once a week… and less sometimes. I found it essential to prioritize everything and schedule a little… being flexible if it doesn’t work out. Each one can only do their best to maintain friendships online and off… remembering the most important one is themself and family😘 much love barbara x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I relate to this one and love the idea of the organic approach. I’ve cut back on my blogging to twice a week and Sundays have become almost computer free which feels great! On Sundays and Monday mornings, I focus more on physical tasks around the house or outside. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself, Brad. Fond wishes of joy and peace are coming your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brad you did not fail.. each of us does what we do to feel right with ourselves.. For me I turn off the modem that means no emails either until I log on.. My new phone is not connected to internet unless I wish it to be.. so that too gets turned off… We each do what works for us… and feels right..
    I miss my blog time too, and like today have done a massive catch up with many followers on WP.. and have been on here four hours solid in total today… But its raining out, my chores are done. its Sunday and I am relaxing.. So I am not beating my self up over it.. πŸ™‚
    I think we will all of us settle and find our right balance.. But I too was getting to use the internet each day… while I sat and my bones set… NOT good…
    So I made a choice.. We all do…
    Its good to see you, and that this time has altered your perception of how you will be formatting your work..

    For me that often means I do not get to visit ALL those I follow as often.. But I always try to revisit as many as I can.. We can only do our best..

    My blogging companions and friends are like family.. in fact I connect with some of you more than some of my family connect with me.. :-D… So that says something for our WordPress Community…
    And I am very grateful to have you as a friend..
    Take care.. and I know we will all of us find our Balance..
    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can relate: throughout the past few years, I’ll think, “I’ll just do this for another twenty minutes” and it turns into an hour. I didn’t (couldn’t) completely eliminate technology during my tech fast month last year. But…in the weeks leading up to my retreat, I told everyone around me that I wouldn’t have access to the internet – which was the truth. I wanted to prepare those around me that they wouldn’t be able to reach me. I was required to turn my phone off for the retreat and we were at campgrounds that had no internet/cell signal – so it wasn’t hard to stay offline. I *did* worry about the volume of emails I’d accumulate. But in the end, it was so rejuvenating. Now I am totally rethinking this whole blogging and website thing – I *miss* going mountain biking every weekend. I miss have time to do nothing – it has always been filled with work and more work. My job necessarily occupies much of my internet time, to keep up with all their website/social media stuff, and then there’s my own site and social media to go along with it and…it’s too much. I’m not sure what it looks like moving forward, but after having stepped away, it feels a lot easier to put up boundaries with it. I think a hard “reset” did me good. If you can schedule it and do it, it’s worth it. πŸ™‚

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