Do you find yourself missing classes? … Having an erratic sleep schedule? … Noticing symptoms of depression or anxiety? … Having problems with your personal relationships? … Have your grades dropped? ... Is your Internet use interfering in your life? ... Could you be addicted to the internet? … To find out, answer the following questions:
- Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate your next online session)?
- Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time to achieve satisfaction?
- Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
- Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
- Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
- Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
- Have you lied to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of your involvement with the Internet?
- Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (i.e., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, and depression)?
[Only nonessential computer/Internet usage (i.e., nonbusiness- or nonacademic- related use) should be evaluated. Addiction is present when people answer yes to 5 or more questions during a 6-month period. (Young, 2004)]
Researchers who study internet addiction in college students find that many students are faced with severe academic problems because they spend a significant amount of study time surfing irrelevant web sites, gossiping in chat rooms and playing interactive games on the Internet. These students had problems completing homework assignments, studying for exams or getting enough sleep to be alert for class the next morning due to late night Internet use. In one study, 50% of students interviewed after dismissal for academic failure listed excessive Internet usage as a reason for their problems.
There is treatment for internet addiction.
Here are some strategies for regaining control:
See a counselor… Join a support group… Keep a log of your Internet use… Set time limits… Develop other interests… Get involved in campus clubs and organizations… Exercise… Watch less television… Go to all your classes and talk to other students afterwards… Shorten your internet sessions… Be mindful of your moods and behaviors that lead you to use the Internet… Take a break and take a walk… Identify your rituals and triggers to go online… Use external shut down devices on your computer… Pick up a good book… Evaluate your priorities… Make new friends… Change the time of day when you use the computer… Limit your computer game time… Explore the campus library… Attend a campus sporting event… Use the gym… Completely stop using certain applications… Eat regular meals… Sleep at night… Consult a health care provider… See a counselor…
www.netaddiction.com – lists strategies for controlling Internet usage
Greenfield, D. (1999). Virtual addiction: Help for netheads, cyberfreaks, and those who love them. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
Young, K.S. (1998). Caught in the net: how to recognize the signs of internet addiction and a winning strategy for recovery. New York: Wiley.