How frequently do you check your Instagram? Or when was the last time you didn’t use any social media or the internet for a single day? With the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives have completely shifted to an online mode. Still, there is a tremendous impact of the internet on our physical and emotional well-being. Some individuals might think that surfing and scrolling through social media is a harmless and entertaining act. Still, some individuals tend to spend so much time on the internet that it affects their daily activities and relationships with others. Let us check how dependent you are on the internet. Try out this assessment made by famous Dr Kimberly Young.
It is essential to understand the difference between habit and addiction. A habit is an activity that we do regularly. Still, it doesn’t cause any harm or negatively impact our well-being. An example of a habit is cleaning your dining table after dinner or chewing your nails when an individual is under tremendous stress. Playing video games like cards online for few hours on weekends is another habit. An addiction is an activity that involves compulsive behaviour. In other words, Internet addiction consists of an individual’s obsessive desire to interact online through internet gaming, gambling, cybersex, and social networking. For example, Meghna used to spend hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram. Her desire to work slowly started reducing that affected her college grades and college applications.
Another example is of a man who got so invested in Twitter that he used to check the application at least 50 times a day which affected his work, family relationships. His wife ended up giving divorce to him. Suppose an individual finds himself unable to stop their urge to use a certain app which makes them postpone or delayed their work. In that case, you might be closer to getting addicted to the internet.
Have you ever thought about why do we become addicted to the internet? It is because we get consumed by behaviour, and the internet acts as an escape from reality. In the virtual world, especially in video games, an individual can create an avatar that allows them to become anything that they and do whatever they like. Individuals who have low self-esteem who suffer from social isolation, depression, and anxiety are more prone to Internet addiction. It provides them with a platform to have confidence and show their skills. A few symptoms of Internet addiction are mood swings, irritability when an individual is offline, inability to control the time they are spending on the internet, and inability to reduce internet consumption time despite having conflict over the same with your loved ones.
Here are some tips which can help you in reducing your screen time –
Set time limits- An individual can set time limits when using social media apps or even playing video games. By selecting a time limit, you become aware of the time you have spent on each app.
Take 48 hours digital detox- Digital detox is an activity that refers to a period during which an individual voluntarily refrains from using any digital device. It includes not using your smartphones, iPad, and even laptops. You can try taking a 48 hours digital detox during the weekend, and you will see results yourself. A few benefits of digital detox are – it maintains a work-life balance and even reduces stress.
Disconnect to reconnect – Instead of giving your child, iPad to play a game. Ask them to play outside on swings and with other children. This activity helps in improving their social skills and makes them more active as well as attentive.
Mediate- Mediation is one of the best exercises that calm and improves our mind. When an individual is engaged in internet video games for hours or has been scrolling through their social media accounts for long hours, our brain gets exhausted. It tires out. An individual can practice meditation which would help in rest and restoration of our mental space.