Addicted to the 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, Brad 🙂