Let’s face it, many of us are addicted to the Internet. I know I am. If we’re not already plugged into our iPhones (that’s not me yet, thankfully), then at least we’re making a bee line for our email, Facebook, and favorite sites when we get home from work (instead of playing with our kids and spending time with our spouse), staying up late at night after everyone’s in bed watching movies on youtube, or wasting time at work looking stuff up that isn’t remotely work-related.
Hey, the Internet is great. It lets us keep up with friends across oceans, stay abreast of the news, find out about a plethora of great things, and basically be plugged into a whole new world. But if that being plugged in means that we’re always plugged in, or plugged in so much that we ignore our real live friends and family, who need us to be there for them every day, or even our physical selves, shirking exercise, work, sleep and hygiene so that we can be online more than is good for us….then it sucks.
That said, it’s sooo addictive. So how do you kick the habit? Well, what’s good about the Internet and computers in general as an addiction is that it’s really easy to set up a system where your usage is very limited. That’s right, you can easily hand over the keys to someone else. You do need to live with or near other people (haven’t thought out how to do this if you live alone yet), but basically, you give the password to your computer (or dialup connection) to your wife, roommate, parents, neighbor, or whichever responsible unaddicted person lives nearby, and they only log you on when they’re convinced that a) it’s for a good reason, like work b) it’s at a normal time, like during the day or evening. That’s right. At 9PM, they log off, and you can’t get back on until morning. They create or change the password, of course, and you never get to see it.
Has this worked for me? Yes. I’m still addicted, in theory. But my usage has been significantly limited, and I was the one who handed over the keys (so I feel like I initiated the solution – that’s important). There are times that I’m just itching to get online, but I can’t – I’m locked out. And then half an hour later, I’m so happy and grateful that I’m not online and that I’m reading a book to my kids, playing basketball with my wife, or even washing the dishes instead. And that I’m going to sleep before 11 PM most nights. Well, 11:30 PM.
But not 2 AM.
And that makes all the difference.