Five signs you need to take a break from the Internet

Residents of Nakuru use their smart phones to browse free WiFi at the Afraha Stadium hot spot on June 15, 2017. [File, Standard]

In a World Health Organisation report titled Public Health Implications of Excessive Use of the Internet, Computers, Smartphones and Similar Electronic Devices, five typical components of what is described as ‘Internet addiction’ are listed:

  1. Salience/Excessive Use — Do you feel like you have lost control of your activities on the internet and you’re constant scrolling or just playing one video after the other? You might want to think about whether you’re addicted. If being on the Internet is affecting how you are managing your time, like when you suddenly realise that you have spent hours on a platform or have used the Internet for 16 hours or more per day, this is a worrying sign. 
  2. Withdrawal — If you feel angry, tense or anxious because the Internet or your gadget is inaccessible (and not because you missed a deadline or an important virtual meeting), then you have something to worry about. 
  3. Negative repercussions/conflicts — You constantly want to be alone (self-imposed isolation) so you can enjoy the internet in peace? You might want to check your usage statistics. Also, if you find yourself lying, arguing, getting fatigued or failing to meet your work or study goals because of time spent on the internet, then you have a problem. 
  4. Craving — If all you can think about is getting on your favourite video or social media platform as soon as possible, think twice. Are you going there only to satisfy this craving or to achieve a certain goal? If you earn a living from these platforms, try to line up specific times when you do certain things such as scheduling posts or checking traffic. 
  5. Mood modification — If you’re constantly using online activity to cope with negative emotions or with boredom, you are heading towards addiction if you’re not already there. Find ways to deal with your emotions than venting to strangers online or posting every little purchase or achievement to seek approval. 
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