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Social Networking: An Internet Addiction?

Who would have thought that something as innocent as an electronic device such as a computer could be powerful enough to ruin marriages and divide homes? The sad truth is that millions of people are suffering from what is known as internet addiction. While it would seem that the computer would be the major culprit, the addiction seems to be to the internet. The computer is just the avenue we use to access it. With that being said there are a number of other ways in which the internet can be accessed. People have even lost jobs because their addiction to the internet was so severe that they could not refrain from accessing it from their phones, while at work. Are there things that can be done to correct this problem? The short answer is, yes there are steps a person can take. However, the problem is that these steps can be somewhat painful and for the faint of heart, very hard to take.

What Seems to Be the Issue?

Why are people so addicted to the internet? Well, the reasons vary but the most common seems to be the internetís ability to provide a social network in which people can become someone they are not. For example, your everyday "wallflower" can become a prom queen, model or even sex symbol by creating an internet identity for herself which differs greatly from her real persona. In the same way, a married man or woman can "cheat" without ever leaving the house. Some people justify internet "love affairs" by saying that they are innocent. The truth of the matter is that any time you go outside of your relationship for gratification; you are cheating on your spouse. There was a time when a person had to get out there and make a name for themselves in order to be noticed. That time ended way back in the 90ís with the advent of the internet. Today, you can become whoever you want and no one will be the wiser.

What Is a Clear Cut Sign of Internet Addiction?

They say that any time anything causes you problems in your life; it is time to evaluate the situation. If you find that your time on the internet is interfering with your job, your marriage, your education or even the time you spend with your children, you may have a problem. If you find that you cannot stay off the internet for more than a couple of hours at a time and you are missing "real life" as a result, it might be time to consider seeking help. Recovering internet addicts have reported having been so wrapped up in the internet that sometimes they didnít eat, shower or sleep. While this may be extreme and may not fit you to a tee, it is possible that your internet addiction is not in full swing. Just like the drug addict who never steals or sells his belongings for drugs may not think he/she is as bad as someone who is shooting heroin into his/her veins, any form of drug addiction is dangerous. The same can be said of internet addiction which literally causes your life to pass you by without your permission.

What Can Be Done About My Internet Addiction?

The simple answer is to log off and step away from the computer. Life would be so easy if any problem could be addressed like that. Unfortunately, not even internet addiction is that simple to over come. It may seem like a stretch to seek professional help and many people are embarrassed to do so, but in some cases this is the only way to stop the madness. In the early years of internet addiction, there wasnít much help available. That is because no one had really caught on to the problem and how detrimental it could be to an ordinary personís life. Some people have found that they were able to overcome an internet addiction simply by limiting the time they spend in front of the computer. If the computer is that easy to walk away from, perhaps the problem is more of a boredom issue than a real addiction. If you find that you cannot limit your time and that your loved ones are being affected by your decision to stay online, you must act, that is if you care at all about the people you are hurting.

What If There Is No One But Me?

There are millions of single people with absolutely no friends outside of the cyber world. If you are one of them you may be thinking that your actions are not hurting anyone and therefore not a problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your actions are hurting you! You are single and what? Friendless? You will never change this if you sit in front of a computer screen flirting with font all day! Some of you may justify by saying. "I donít use the internet for meeting people or having love affairs". You donít have to be using the internet for those purposes. If whatever you are doing online keeps you there for more than 50% of your day, everyday, you are online too much. It is time to get out and get some fresh air. Meet some people and enjoy your life. Years pass by too fast as it is. When you are 90 do you want all the memories of your youth to be of "funny times" you spent sitting in a chair in front of the computer screen? If that prospect alarms you, get up and do something about it.

The first step to healing from any addiction is to admit that there is a problem. Once you have come to the realization that there is a problem, you can do something about it. If any of the above has pulled at your heart strings or made you nod in agreement, talk to someone. Look at your options and find out what you can do. If you must unplug the computer and give it to a family member to hold, do it. Remember, your life is only given to you once. Donít waste in all on the internet.





George Cranston

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