Internet Addiction and Responses

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For the WikiPedia look at things:

Internet Addiction on Wikipedia

Just hope that you're not a hypochondriac!

This quote is interesting: "some services available over the Internet have unique psychological properties which induce dissociation, time distortion, and instant gratification".

I suspect a great deal of the problem is to do with the lack of pacing. In most things we do in life there are natural breaks, for tea/coffee, for meals, for bladder relief. The great human strength of applied concentration can become a problem in using the Internet - we can over-ride everything else to gain a needle-like focus to our attention.

This technique designed to control pacing may be of use:

Pomodoro Technique on Wikipedia

Alternatively, ergonomic research suggests that a five minute break every hour is a good idea, and that you should definitely not attempt to concentrate for more than two hours at a time. This give a much better balance between physical and mental activity.

So, you place a kitchen-type timer set to an hour out of easy reach of the computer. So you need to get up and take at least a few steps to reach it, and stop the noise. Then, move around for five minutes, use the loo, make a drink if that suits, look out the window (re-focus your eyes to infinity).

Every three hours take at least a half-hour break - this may fit some people's meal times. Go outside, if possible, walk around, make use of stairs, if available, possibly do some stretching and flexibility exercises. Do not go back to the computer for at least the full half-hour, even if you "just want to check something".

Do not sit down to use the computer, even if "just for a few minutes", without setting the timer, unless literally you need to do something else, like go out, very soon. You may choose to set the timer for shorter periods, particularly if you are feeling unwell.

Having other people present may alter the situation; generally they'll help you pace things, but some might reinforce a tendency towards too long periods of excessive focus.

Another trick is to set yourself a 'ration', say of at most five hours computer use per day, or twenty-five hours per week (I wouldn't recommend more than ten hours per day and fifty hours per week, no matter what). No matter why - tell anyone that complains that you're under doctor's orders, for health reasons.

(c) ROMsys Ltd, December 2011, permission given to use for non-profit making purposes

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