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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Addicted to the Internet?

Internet addiction is a very real problem. With real consequences. And it’s way more prevalent than you think. America today is facing a crisis of disconnection.  Since the inception of the Internet, the development of video games, and the advent of cell phones, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and other electronic devices, our world has changed more dramatically due to technological innovation than at any time in human history since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press six centuries ago.

New patterns of behavior that once were quirky amusements are now epidemic. Some are merely annoying habits, like a friend talking on his cell phone during lunch, but many develop insidiously into seriously maladaptive habits, compulsions, or even dangerous addictions; such as: texting while driving.

Like everyone else, we wrestle with the issue of what to do about what’s happening and the impact of electronic devices on our daily lives. We struggle to take control of how much time we spend on our devices. So what can we do about it?

1.  Educate yourself. It’s critical to be aware of how much time you spend on your computer and other devises. Has technology taken control of your life? Not sure? Then read 20 Symptoms of Internet Addiction  and find out.

2. Have a discussion with family or friends about your use of electronics.  Point out how you grapple with the over use of technology and ask for their help.

3. Set a goal of how much total time should be spent each day on electronics. Then break the total goal into time categories: how much time where, doing what, with whom.

4. Plan daily periods of abstinence. These “brain breaks” provide intervals of time in which no electronic device may be turned on. Yes, this will be difficult. So try beginning with 10 minutes twice a day. Then increase that time by 10 minutes a week until you reach 1 hour a day or whatever goal you all want to achieve

Learn more about internet addition and how to manage it in this week’s “Distraction” podcasts episodes #11 & mini #11, when you hear an emotional story from a woman whose whole life was changed because of it, and a millennial who struggles with his addiction every day.

Podcast website

Resources:

reStart Center for Technology Sustainability

Dr. Greenfield and The Center for Internet ad Technology Addiction

If you have a questions about Internet Addiction , please send it to Dr. Hallowell using this link.

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