We all see people glued to their phones; not just in places like the bus stop, the doctor’s surgery and the queue in the post office but even where people are having a meal out, or at a school sports day.
The problems begin when activities on screens replace real human interactions. Internet addiction is very real and pathological use of the internet is increasingly becoming a compulsion for children and adults alike. Like any compulsive disorder, internet addiction has the potential to create problems with family, work, relationships and finances. Which, also like any other compulsive disorder, can lead to depression and anxiety and a general deterioration in mental health.
When you spend more time on social media and in chat rooms than you do with real people and you can’t stop yourself checking for texts and emails, you may want to have a think about your internet use.
Signs of internet addiction
- Do you check for social media updates while on real social occasions?
- Do you check your emails so regularly it is sometimes minutes apart?
- Do you instinctively reach for your phone if you’re in a queue?
- Do you sometimes look at your phone without an initial reason when you take it out?
Tips to beat internet addiction
- Understand the difference between real and online interactions
- Recognise other problems (other addictions) that may support internet addiction
- Set aside some ‘phone-free’ time with friends and family
- Recognise and try to avoid what makes you reach for your phone e.g. boredom/loneliness
We don’t want to judge or try to tell people how to live; we just try to give advice to make lives better so, if you’re answering “yes” to some or all of these questions, we would recommend you ask yourself how difficult it would be to spend 24 hours without your phone and then try to do it. You’ll soon know if there is a problem.