We all stare at our phones when we are bored. It is natural to reach out for entertainment when you have it at the palm of your hand. Some people like to play games and that’s alright, as long as it is done moderately and for fun and not for profit. However, there is something to be said about checking Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and playing games when you are supposed to be socializing, studying, working, or doing something else. How can we curb internet addiction?
I’ve heard a joke online comparing social media to a fridge – there’s nothing interesting inside, but you will probably check again in five minutes. We are used to following our favorite shows, seeing posts about an issue, or just killing time online. That’s not something to be ashamed of, as long as we don’t overdo it and find some quality entertainment.
Ask yourself whether you truly need to read your great aunt’s post about her thirteenth cat’s adventures, debate the political issue you have no control over, or watch a video online this very second. If the answer is yes, I have some bad news for you. You don’t need it, you’re just bored.
Wasting time online as a way to unwind is perfectly fine if you are not doing it for several hours every day. Try to limit the amount of time you spend online and talk to the people around you. If you possess the strength of character necessary, you can limit your access online to that which is necessary for your work and block everything else.
Go Off the Grid
One way to limit the need for the internet is to take away the internet, at least for a while. There have been cases where people have gone to a remote location on a camping trip and returned without the need to spend time online. Of course, this only works if you don’t bring your smartphone to the camp. If you need to be reached, try a burner phone. It won’t have the addictive apps and sites, and it’s not a big waste if it gets damaged.
Find a Hobby
You may need to find a hobby that will take your mind off of the internet. This can be anything from exercising to carpentry, reading, and even writing down some of your thoughts. Take a walk, talk to a relative or friend, sit at the balcony and reflect on life. Go to the gym, a dance club, or a yoga studio. Invent a hobby of your own, or join a cause.
These hobbies will serve as a cleansing mechanism. They are also great for hearing yourself thinks amidst all of the online noise. Instead of getting angry at how Game of Thrones ended, or the abortion ban in Alabama, consider what is happening around you. You can, and should, still discuss these things with your friends, but stop and smell the roses once in a while.