How to overcome Internet addiction? Personal experience

My 2 days of digital detox 

I’ve always wanted to conduct such an experiment. I have a kind of internet addiction disorder. I had a need to abandon the Internet and all my gadgets. But my work does not allow to do this for a long period of time, so I decided to limit myself just for 2 days. And during the week ahead I tried to minimize online contacts and switch to analog instruments. It was an unusual time, I can say.

digital detox

The article will be useful to those who would like to take a break from the information flow and fuss. Sometimes we all need to stop and think.

Why do you need to handle Internet addiction?

Our health depends on what we eat. Intellectual “food” – the quality and quantity of information, the speed of its consumption, the formats of communication – all that determines our mental health.

A smartphone, a computer, and the Internet are great inventions of mankind. Unfortunately, people rarely use these inventions wisely. And as a result, anxiety, depression, and dependence on gadgets appear among modern people. Attention and quality of sleep are interrupted.

dependence on gadgets

Digital addiction for everyone!

I learned to read very early, and at school, I read books avidly. I remember how my parents hid from me the books that had not read. They feared for my eyesight.

When I finished school, my parents gave me a computer. I got access to any information, I discovered new wonderful worlds. In fact, I was mindlessly surfing and saving pictures, which I never opened again. The amount of wasted time is terrifying. Back to that time, it seemed that I was absorbing information and successfully managed my time.

Three years later, I realized that I had practically stopped reading books — the computer completely had replaced that. It was not easy to fix. I was amazed at how difficult it became to concentrate. I stopped to reread some paragraphs. I rarely could sit down with a book for more than 15 minutes. I have returned my “reading form” and I constantly try to maintain and improve it.

For the last seven years, my work day and the computer are inseparable. Of course, I communicate with people, but most of the day I look at the monitor.

Detox and its results

For a digital hunger battle, I chose two days, a weekend. And I had solved all important matters beforehand. I put a piece of paper with the word “detox” on my phone. I disconnected the laptop from the network and went to bed. In the morning, the hand tried to reach the smartphone. This automatic movement I observed more than once during the whole experiment. I did that subconsciously. It was just a reflex action, muscular memory.

Detox and its results

On the detox weekend, I was going to do housework or spend time reading. I chose cleaning the kitchen as the most appropriate thing to do. But I did not want to wash the dishes and the stove in complete silence! “Or maybe I can listen to podcasts? It’s not music. It’s not your fault that there is no tape recorder and no cassettes, so you can mp3, ”said the inner voice with a hedonistic accent. I refused to listen to podcasts and mp3. You know, being alone with dirty pans is not so scary. If you like getting a little dirty.

Both days I did housework and read a lot. Took notes in a notebook, recorded thoughts on a voice recorder. I do not consider this as a violation of detox, because the information came “from me” and not “into me”. I talked on the phone several times. Yes, on a smartphone, because I do not have an analog device, and complete isolation was not in my plans. But I was honest with myself – I did not touch the Internet, I didn’t launch any applications, and I didn’t even take pictures of anything, although the cat seemed particularly photogenic those days.

I was not vigorous and productive for all 48 hours. A couple of times I caught myself thinking that it was a bit boring in an exclusively analog world. My next digital detox will be more diluted with meetings with friends.

My two days of digital detox gave me the most useful thing – “meeting with myself”. 

It is great to stop and think without gadgets and the Internet. It turned out that in ordinary life most of the pauses (waiting in line or on the road, waiting for transport or a person) I fill with social networking channels. It is better to feel the reality without the social network garbage. So it’s very important to understand how to break Internet addiction.

After the detox weekend, a busy week began. I deleted the social network icons from the dashboard and minimized online contacts. I do not answer calls immediately – I do it only after I have finished my work. 

What have I understood during this time?

My two days of digital detox

Information hunger exists – I have not read for a long time with such passion. I was keen to receive information, and books took the place of the Internet. It’s good that I had several unread paper books, otherwise, I would have to compromise for my e-reader.

The digital world gives the illusion of independence. On the Internet, we feel that we are the masters of our ether: we supposedly decide for ourselves which links to click on. But this is true for the Internet 20 years ago. Today, all social networks, news aggregators and recommendations show us personalized content. They have one goal: to keep us as long as they can. Facebook’s ex-president, Sean Parker, honestly admits that the main idea of creating and developing a social network was: “How do we take the most of your time and attention?” Independence is when you decide for yourself what to do and read.

How to stop Internet addiction?

1. Decide the cases that require your presence on the network and at the computer.

2. Tell your family and friends about your plans: that you will not be online, but you are fine. Reassure them that this is not a sect.

3. Stock up on interesting books. Make an appointment with friends. Study the map of your city for interesting places.

4. Make a practice: go to the store or for a walk without a smartphone and player.

5. Set a comfortable detox for yourself. Do not confuse digital starvation with electric or social.

6. Note thoughts in a notebook or on a voice recorder. The first time they may not be at all – do not panic.

7. Do not get distracted by calls, SMS messages and emails immediately. Intel has calculated that it takes up to 50% of your work time to go back to work after unplanned distractions.

Have time to enjoy digital asceticism, until the technological singularity has come, the chips are not implanted in the brain, and the iris is not replaced by the monitor!

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