Itâ€™s impossible to imagine life without the internet. We’re not only dependent on it for utilitarian uses like research, bill-paying and shopping, but we also rely on it as a mode of entertainment. The internet brings us consistent pleasure like no other previous invention, excluding television. As a result, many people spend much of their days online, with their laptops firmly planted in their laps and eyes permanently fixed on the screens. According to a Harris Interactive poll that was released in December of 2009, the average internet user spends 13 hours online per week. And, of course, internet addicts spend many more hours online than the average person. If you think the internet may be ruling your life, read through the indicators listed below and diagnose yourself.
- You check Facebook, Twitter, and/or your email more than a dozen times per day
Sure, this pretty much applies to everyone nowadays, but then again, almost everyone is addicted to the internet. What are you really missing by not checking one of the aforementioned accounts after an hour? The messages will still be there two hours later, tomorrow and the next day. It’s a compulsive and pointless habit.
- You’ve unsuccessfully attempted to limit your time on the internet
In an effort to broaden your horizons, spice up your life and try something new, you attempted to limit your time online per day. But you failed miserably after the first few days, and now spend more time on the internet than ever before. Your failure wasn’t because you didn’t have better things to do â€“ it was because you endured physical discomfort without having the internet at your fingertips.
- You experience withdrawals without the internet
Just like with commonly abused addictive substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco, it’s possible to experience symptoms of withdrawal without the internet. In April of 2010, researchers from the University of Maryland released a study showing that students experienced craving, anxiety and the inability to function normally after 24 hours without all media. Of course, their lack of access to the internet through their laptops and phones was a major cause of frustration.
- You’ve lied about the amount of time you spend on the internet
Have you minimized your browser before your boss loomed over your shoulder? Have you quickly shut your laptop before your significant other walked through the door? You normally shouldn’t be ashamed of the amount of time you spend online â€“ unless, of course, you surf the web almost every moment of every day and it cuts into the rest of your life.
- You can definitively say you’d be more successful by spending less time online
Without your dependency on the internet, you could’ve made the dean’s list several more times and graduated in four years instead of making the list just once and graduating in five years. You attribute your denied promotion or the lack of a raise to spending too much time online while at work. The internet has been the equalizer in your life â€“ instead of fulfilling your above average potential, you’ve remained just average.
- You neglect face-to-face social interaction
Skype is all the face-to-face social interaction you need. Perhaps your only consistent relationships are internet relationships â€“ or in other words, with people who you’ve met online and rarely or never meet in person. Your previously existing real-life relationships have suffered because you’ve chosen to hang out online instead of hanging out with them.
- You always bring your laptop
You bring your laptop to places that you don’t really need it so when the urge hits you, you can whip it out and connect to the nearest wireless hotspot. You go to social locations, like coffee shops, and communicate with people online when you could be communicating with them in person. Even during vacations, you spend time on the internet, when all of your time should be spent taking full advantage of the fun place you’re visiting.
- You have thousands of posts on a message board
You have a lot to say and your favorite message board is where you say it. You’ve accumulated thousands of posts â€“ the more you accumulate, the more respect you earn on the site â€“ and made e-friends and e-enemies with fellow posters. You’ve even cultivated an e-personality that you convey with each post. While at work or hanging out with friends, you can’t stop thinking about the message board and even reference it on occasion.
- You update your blog daily
Lots of people have blogs, but very few of them are actually active bloggers. If you’re one of the people who updates their blog daily during your free time â€“ and not for work purposes â€“ then you might be addicted to the internet. And the worst part is not that you’re wasting time that could be spent doing something more worthwhile, but you’re further polluting the internet with your insignificant opinions and mundane experiences â€“ unless, of course, you actually add new information that people would find valuable.
- You know all of the current memes and viral videos
You’re not familiar with just a few of the current memes and viral videos â€“ because that would be pretty normal â€“ but you know all of them. In late July of 2010, you were already tired of the inarticulateness of Basil Marceaux. You kept track of the appearances of Paul Yarrow and his beige sweater on BBC and Sky News. Perhaps you’ve even created your own marginally successful meme.