We joke about how much time we waste just browsing. We pop onto Facebook for a “quick” update and we’re still there three hours later. The internet can bring so much to our life, but it can also take over. So, how do you tell if it has gone too far and that you indeed have an internet addiction?
1. You Forget about How Much Time You've Spent Online
Do you often find yourself online longer than you intended? Do you notice a few minutes turn into a few hours? You need help! Not being able to keep track of time online is among the biggest signs you're addicted to the internet. It becomes even more difficult to prioritize your time when you don't have a busy schedule. It doesn't look that serious in the beginning, but you end up getting in a state where you have no self-control to stop using the internet when you want to.
2. You Often Forget about Other Things
Do you notice laundry piling up because you've been busy online? Do you find little food in the house for dinner because you forgot to go to the market? Do you even forget to eat because you're so engrossed in what you’re doing online? All this is happening due to your cyber addiction that makes you replace your healthy habits with unhealthy ones. It's time to get your priorities straight.
3. You Feel Elated when Online
Does browsing a particular site make you feel better than doing anything else? Do you feel cranky when someone interrupts your internet session? It's mainly because you get in a heightened euphoria when you're browsing your favorite sites, and that's a sign of cyber addiction.
4. You Notice Changes in Your Sleep Patterns
Becoming overly dependent on your screen to fall asleep is more of a case of technology addiction. LED screens mess with the signals your brain receives from your eyes. This affects your natural circadian rhythm that responds to sunlight. The artificial light coming from your gadget may make your brain think that it's not nighttime yet, which can seriously disrupt your sleep patterns.
5. You Neglect Friends and Family to Be Online
It's common for an internet addict to neglect friends and family and avoid opportunities for social interaction just to get their obsessive fix of the web. You can make friends online too, but that's nothing compared to making friends in real life. A healthy social life is vital for a healthy lifestyle, and your internet addiction is making it difficult for you.
6. You Lie about Your Internet Usage
Do you always have to lie to your friends and family about how many times you've watched Bo Burnham's YouTube channel or viewed Susan Boyle videos? Lying about your usage is among the biggest signs that you're addicted to the internet. It is also common for cyber addicts to lie about what they do while they're online. If you're doing the same, you need help.
7. You Experience a Number of Physical Health Problems
Have you had regular headaches or gone through a weight change? This is usually a sign you're spending more time online than you should. Your internet addiction may cause several physical issues such as dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, sleep disturbances, neck aches, strained vision, and pronounced weight loss or weight gain. Staring at a computer for so many hours will always result in dry eyes and strained vision whereas poor posture will lead to headaches, backaches, and all sorts of musculoskeletal problems.
8. You Carry Your Device Everywhere
Do you feel you and your laptop are the best of friends and it's impossible to separate you two? It's again a sign that you need intervention. It's even common for cyber addicts to inquire about the availability of the internet before they go out to some place with friends. You can also call this the "Wi-Fi Syndrome," which is not healthy at all.
9. You Consider Your Internet Time to Make Other Plans
Cyber addicts won't usually enjoy social interaction, but even when they do, they always plan things around their internet time. They won't do anything else during the time they have devoted to the internet. If you approach things in a similar fashion, know that you're an addict.
I know I’ve pointed out the extreme of each symptom, but that’s purposeful to indicate how far an internet addiction can go. If you’re at the milder end of the spectrum, be aware of the danger and if you’re nearer the middle or extreme end – time to do something about it, lady, before it takes over your life.
Do you spend too much time online?