Cyber addiction: how do you disconnect?

Do you spend hours chatting on WhatsApp? Can’t count the time you spend on YouTube? Are you hovering over your Facebook news feed while walking? If you answer yes, beware: you could be a victim of Cyber addiction!

To avoid getting lost in the virtual world, here are some tips.

What is cyber addiction?

It’s an addiction to the digital world. In other words, it’s when you feel the compulsive need to be constantly online. In some cases, this addiction can lead to depression, anxiety or even attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD).

Overcoming Internet addiction: difficult, but possible!

Your friends’ funny posts, web stars’ stories, videos, and gambling … Resisting a funny escape from reality is difficult.

When you’re connected, your brain gets a rush of dopamine. Over time, you start to crave that feel-good factor constantly.

When you try to limit your internet use, your brain doesn’t get the same dose of dopamine. The result: you become anxious; have mood swings and possibly other psychological symptoms.

Don’t panic, there are simple techniques that allow you to spend time on the web without falling into cyber addiction:

1. Find other ways to express yourself

Commenting on a status or tweet is the easiest way to express yourself. But, have you ever thought of other ways?

Writing a poem or an opinion piece, drawing characters in a situation, filming short films, creating personalized photo books… Expressing yourself outside the internet is not impossible.

2. Get active

Football, boxing, weight training, aerobics… Whatever your favourite sport, make sure you make time for exercise. You can also add in daily 10-minute meditation sessions to help you gradually kick your cyber addiction.

If you have to stay online for long hours as part of your job, try to take regular breaks.

3. Go out with friends instead of chatting online

Chatting online with your friends is cool, but at what cost? Over time, addiction is inevitable.

There’s nothing like going out IRL (In Real Life) for a couple of hours with friends!

4. Stay close to the family

Weak family ties increase the addiction to the Internet. Keep a warm connection with your family members whenever possible. Talk to them if you have problems to solve and organize family nights.

5. Manage your time

Set a time limit on the internet and plan from the start what you are going to do: specific research, try out a new online game, watch the latest video of your favourite vlogger, etc.

6. Ask for help

If you still can’t quit, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a health professional or a coach depending on your needs.