Warning signs you may have an internet addiction

Nobody wants to admit to an addiction. We don’t want the shame associated with the admission. We don’t want to feel out of control or to acknowledge that we are falling into unhealthy patterns of behavior. It is often this denial that keeps us trapped in cycles of destruction or avoiding reaching out for help. But it does not have to be that way. We cannot avoid the internet but we can have healthier ways of engaging with it.

The starting point for any addiction recovery is honesty. We need to admit to ourselves that we have a problem. We need to face the facts that what we are doing is unhealthy and often we can only do that when we start to identify the consequences of our actions in our own lives and toward those around us.

While many addictions share some commonality, each area of addiction will also have its own specific trends. Different addictions will have varying consequences too.

Reflective questions to ask regarding your internet activity and if it may be problematic behavior?

  1. How much time do I give to my internet activity?
  2. Does it take me away from other important activities that I should be doing, like work, school, regular chores and exercise?
  3. Does it cause isolation from the people that I live with and engage with in-person on a daily basis. By in-person I mean the people that you live with, actual see physically, your family, friends and colleagues with whom you are not communicating with through a device.
  4. Is it the first thing I want to do when I wake up or when I have a break from other activities? Am I checking social media, logging on for e-mails or going to websites and chatrooms every moment I can?
  5. Does being unable to perform that activity cause me to be irritable or change my mood?
  6. Am I using that activity or behavior to escape from reality and is that my default way of handling tough situations?
  7. Do I prefer to be online than in-person when engaging other people? Can I communicate easily without a device?
  8. Are any of my internet activities done in secret?
  9. What is the financial cost of my activity and is the cost of it negatively impacting my regular priority expenses.
  10. Have any significant relationships been adversely affected because of my internet activities?
  11. Do I have trouble sleeping?
  12. Is any of my internet activity illegal?
  13. Does my internet activity go against what I believe in?

There are many other indicators that can point to unhealthy internet activity or addiction and we will look more specifically at individual addictions in a different post. For now it may be worth reflecting on the above and seeing how many are true for you.

Now is the time to make a change for healthier living.

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