Friday, August 6, 2010
This Article Will Feed Your Addiction.
It has occurred to me lately that I have an Internet addiction. My husband has teased me about it for a couple of years now---but I think there's really a problem here and I intend to fix it.
In preparation for this article, I did a little research into Internet addiction. I found that in 1995, the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery was formed, as an alarming trend had begun to emerge of people involved in compulsive surfing, Internet gambling, Internet gaming, and Internet affairs. There are actual treatment centers all over the US and abroad that serve to treat those suffering from Internet addiction. Wow.
Many people who wouldn't think of picking up a dangerous drug or alcohol habit would be offended if they were told they had an Internet addiction. What defines an addiction anyway? According to www.netaddiction.com, meeting five of the following symptoms would make you a candidate for diagnosis:
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
Personally, I'd say just one of those is an indication that you might be taking things a little too far...
I've been thinking about why I might find myself turning to the Internet for entertainment/distraction/avoidance. I think the main thing that is drawing me lately is FarmVille on Facebook. My brother, a game designer for EA Salt Lake, says that these types of games are designed to build an addiction fast. They start out by rewarding the player for every small accomplishment but, over time, it takes longer and longer to achieve a similar result and accomplishment. Others have realized the addictive nature of the game as evidenced on the Facebook page, How To Quit FarmVille!!
I think it's that sense of accomplishment that draws me to FarmVille. I told a friend the other day, only half-joking: "It's pretty bad when my house is trashed but my farm looks great!" Now, I wouldn't say my house is necessarily trashed, but there are definitely areas of the house that I never seem to "have the time to get to". The sense of accomplishment after housework is short-lived around my place. Even though the kids have all been trained to pick up after themselves, a house inhabiting nine people is bound to avoid spotlessness! My farm, however, is a place that is orderly and peaceful all the time---and I did it all by myself!
Recently, a fellow Facebooker and distant relative (whom I've not yet met) took a Facebook quiz about me. The question was, "Do you think Sarah spends more than eight hours a day online?" His answer was, "Of course not. She is a good mommy." Wow.
Because of the huge amount of guilt that washes over me when I read that, let me preface this next part by reminding myself that I am a good mommy. Anyone who knows me will agree. However, does my time online interfere with the kind of mommy I want to be? Absolutely.
I'm ashamed to say that it's very possible that I do spend eight accumulated hours online on some days. I usually feed my newborn in front of the computer, but if his feeding is done and I'm not, then I tend to stay longer. He eats every two hours right now so that time definitely adds up fast! It is summer though so I just keep telling myself that the kids are on summer break and have lots of free time so I'm just giving myself the same...ha! Still, I feel guilty...there's so much more we could be doing.
I'm not going to beat myself up about it...I'm just going to make some changes. First thing that is going is FarmVille. Just the thought that someone designed it to be ultra addicting ticks me off and makes me want to boycott it out of spite! There are so many other things I'd like to be doing online. For instance, I'd like to continue my ancestry research on Ancestry.com. I would also like to write in my blog more, as well as read the articles others have written in theirs. I'd like to craft, sew, and scrapbook more. I want to take on some DIYs and beautify my house. I want to learn to play my guitar, Celtic harp and cello. I'll also be starting back to school this fall online.
All of those things will feed my creative soul and bring a sense of accomplishment---and we'll ALL be better for it!