Taking a break from the internet: the new diet

by Brooke Strickland

You’re pretty much surrounded by computers all day, every day.  You need them to work.  You need them to get a hold of family members on e-mail. You likely – at some point or another - need a smart phone to help you get directions to your next off-site work meeting.  So, when you say you want to take a break from computers, it can be hard. But you can cut out the amount of time spent online.  Taking a hiatus from the internet is not only helpful, but needed.  At some point, you’ve probably felt like you need a computer to function in everyday life, whether it be to look up a phone number, find a new recipe online, or to chat with your friend across the country.  Well, there are ways to minimize your interactions online and start an Internet diet.  We’ve compiled some tips.

-  Set a time limit: Don’t stay up till midnight night after night, trying to catch up on your Facebook newsfeed.  It’s not worth it.  Set a time limit every night on how long you want to spend online catching up with the happenings of the day.  And stick to it.

- Keep the distractions at bay:  If you don’t need your cell phone, turn it off. If you don’t need your email, sign out of it. 

- Keep your brain working well:  We know the Internet has lots of fun things to do, whether it be games, chatting with friends, or catching up on the latest entertainment gossip.  It’s ok to use the Web for these things, but remember it’s also a powerful educational tool.  When you’re online for fun, try not to absorb a ton of garbage or waste your energy with mindless games that suck your time and mind dry.  Use your time wisely, in other words. Educate yourself with good information. Start learning a new language.  Brush up on your math skills.  Check out the latest cooking or sewing blogs and try creating for yourself a new hobby.  And with those new hobbies, abandon your computer screen.  Get in the kitchen and start cooking that new recipe you found.  Find a partner to help study Spanish with you. 

The bottom line: don’t let the Internet control your life.  Don’t let it become something you must have and can’t live without. You should be able to leave your laptop for a few days and be ok with that.  Becoming addicted to the Internet is real.  It can physically alter who you are and how you live your life.  So managing the amount of time you spend online and controlling the type and amount of information you put into your head is important to successful living. 

Internet addiction is real.  For more information, visit www.hooked-on-games.com