Texting Guided Practice
New technologies, including smart phones, computers, social networks, and the Internet, have brought many gifts to our society – but for many people, all this technology has become a double-edged sword. Their use of technology is intruding on their ability to live a normal, social, and healthy life. An internet addiction isn’t defined by how much time a person spends online or otherwise using technology. An addiction develops when the use of technology becomes destructive to a person’s health and well-being. People with an addiction to the internet use technology to relieve other problems in their lives, such as anxiety or loneliness. Certain people are at higher risk for developing an internet addiction, including those with anxiety or depression (the internet becomes a welcome distraction) … other addictions (especially gambling or sex) … and restricted mobility (since it may seem that there is little else to do).
Different Forms of Internet Addiction
There are numerous different types of internet addictions:
- Cybersex (pornography)
- Social Networks (obsessive use of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter)
- Information Overload (reading everything you can find on a particular topic)
- Net compulsions (like online gambling, stock trading, or shopping)
- Computer Addiction (for example, playing computer games like Solitaire)
Signs & Symptoms
Signs that internet addiction is developing:
- You lose track of the time you spend online – hours go by without your realization
- You have difficulty concentrating on work or meeting responsibilities
- You’d rather spend time online than being with family and friends
- You mislead people about how much time you spend online and/or are secretive about your internet use
- You feel happiest and most fulfilled when you are engaging in online activities
Re-visioning your World
Whether or not you have focused on it recently, you have a “wishlist” in your mind of how you’d like your life to be. This exercise will help crystallize some of the changes you can consider making to replace your online world with a more fulfilling reality.
Without censoring yourself, make a wish list in your journal of the first things that come to mind. Think about it. Which of those things do you need in order to survive? Which things do you want but can live without? Needs are basic: food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. While it may be more pleasurable to have designer clothing, that is not a necessity. As long as you have clothing that protects you from the elements, you can survive.
Now look back at your wish list and see if you can adjust some of the wishes to more basic versions of those items – for instance, if you have “rib-eye steak” on the wish list, you may replace that with “nutritious dinner.” If you have “Porsche convertible,” you may replace that with “working vehicle.” See how many items can be downgraded or crossed off your list.
What does your revised list look like?
Looking at our wants and needs this way trains us to be happier in the present moment instead of always reaching for the next best thing. Remember that you are enough as you are. You don’t need embellishments, jewelry, or a luxury car to be worthy. You are already invaluable just be being you.
In order to be truly content in the present moment, allow yourself the gift of gratitude. When you are thankful for all that you already have, your life will feel more enjoyable. In your journal, list all the things – tangible and intangible – that you already have. Eyesight, health, coffee, a job, supportive shoes, a supportive boss, a child, health insurance, air conditioning, music, sunshine, laughter, love … what are some of the things you feel grateful for?
By completing this three-part exercise, you have allowed yourself to begin appreciating the current moment instead of pushing it aside for a virtual life.