Internet addiction is a relatively new concept for many people, since (believe it or not) we’re still in the very early stages of our technological era. The idea that we could become addicted to easy access to information seems almost laughable to many people. However, how much time do you really spend online? The internet has become such an integral part of our society, which we’ve adapted to incorporate into our daily routines. Are you, or a member of your family addicted to the internet? Here are five key warning signs that will help you identify an internet addiction.
1 – A “Need” to Be Connected
What happens when you don’t have access to the internet? Do you feel anxious, nervous or disconnected from other people? Do you try to finish your current activity as fast as possible, just so that you can get back online sooner? These behavioral traits are the sign of a serious internet addiction.
2 – Loss of Interest in Offline Activities
When was the last time that you did an outdoor activity that you previously enjoyed? Did you previously love to read, or draw – activities which you find yourself no longer interested in? This is another very important sign that you might have developed a dependence on online communication. Essentially, your internet time has become a replacement for other “offline” activities.
3 – Less “Real” Social Time
Of course you spend time interacting with your friends online – who doesn’t? However, the question is – do you spend time with them off of the internet as well? Most of us have become very accustomed to simply communicating via online messages, which requires us to spend less time actually “talking” to someone face to face. If you find that you’re avoiding actual social encounters in favor of chatting online, you may need to acknowledge that you have a serious problem.
4 – Others Have Commented About Your Internet Use
If other people are beginning to notice that you’re spending a lot of time online, it might be time to listen to their analysis of your behavior. While all of us spend at least some time online, if it’s becoming noticeable to others, you might want to take a step back. Are your friends saying that they never see you anymore outside of chatting online? Is your family complaining about spending less time with you? Do you find yourself constantly checking your social media accounts? If any of these are true, you might want to stop denying it, and actually listen to the feedback you’re receiving about your online activities.