Newsflash: there is such a thing as information addiction and it is getting more and more common with the advent of new technologies that allow us to stay connected constantly. If you notice people who seem to always be looking at their phones or refuse to look away from their tablets and laptops, chances are they suffer from information addiction. According to an article by James Meikle on The Guardian, “They even claim that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges, people are more likely to give in to longings or cravings to use social and other media.”
It is much easier to pinpoint others who may be suffering from it but you must also ask yourself if you are at risk or already down with this modern affliction. Some behaviour associated with it are as follows:
- The compulsive need to check e-mail, social media, and other online information sources
- Incessant text messaging or mobile surfing
- Choosing online games over going outdoors
- Posting status updates, sending tweets, or sending text messages and ignoring actual company
- The need to go back on in the internet after only an hour of being off it
If you recognize some of the points posted as something you do, you may already be addicted to information. This is not a healthy thing to do but you are fortunate enough to change your ways a bit and make sure that your real life is just as fulfilling as your online one. Here’s how.
Make a self-assessment and figure out why you feel the need to be distracted all the time. Does anything trigger your need to go online? An article on Impact LAB says that “For all the efficiency gains that it seemingly provides, the constant stream of data can interrupt not just dinner and family time, but also meetings and creative time, and it can prove very tough to turn off.” See, it can be difficult to detach yourself from it but the only reason people feel that way is because it is so readily available. Are you really using it for something or just because it is there?
If you really must go online, make sure you fulfill all other duties for the day before doing so. This will at least prevent you from neglecting other aspects in your life. Of course, this will be entirely pointless if you do not stick to your tasks so make it a personal commitment to finish what it is you have to do.
Spend some time in the real world. If you cannot ignore your mobile phone or gadget, do something that does not require any electronics. You can take a walk, go to the park, whatever it is that will get you away from your computer. Leave your mobile phone at home.
Set a limit for the time you spend on the internet. Time can pass by very quickly when you are absorbed in what you are doing but for your sake, have a cut-off and make sure to step away from the computer when you are supposed to. Rest your eyes.
Take baby steps. Other addictions require that you go cold turkey but with the internet and information addicts, this will not be necessary. You can start by doing little things that will eventually lead to greater ones when you get the hang of it. Make sure that you are making progress even in increments just so you know that you are going somewhere.