Internet addiction?


A reader shares that on occasion they find a new and interesting venue on the internet and end up using it compulsively, wasting a lot of time, and then feeling disgusted with themselves. They believe that if they make a decision to get involved with an internet venue, they can just make a decision to stop the behavior. [Use of “they” deliberate]

Good question! 

internet_addiction_pc6.jpg (377×258)

So called “internet addiction is a new and growing problem impacting on modern life.   “Internetting” can be addictive in a few ways:

1.  Whether you prefer to think of it as “addiction” or simply as operant conditioning, certain types of internet activity can become powerful compulsions very quickly.  As with gambling and other compulsive disorders, once established, this behavior is driven by neurochemical changes and may be quite challenging to alter.

2.  You lose your sense of time.  Often, I will begin a task on the internet which I casually assume will take five or ten  minutes . . . but then I find that two hours has gone with only a vague awareness of  the passage of time.  I don’t know if that is a “flow experience” or not, but in the context I am using it here, there is definitely a dark side to it.

3.  In line with the above, this “flow experience”  may be inherently positively reinforcing, which complicates the addictive nature of the process.  Nothing wrong, I suppose with positively reinforcing experience, IF that produce positive results.  However, if such experiences just suck you into using buckets of time you would rather have been spending on something else, and then you end up“downing yourself for, then obviously there is a problem.




Back to REBT:

Do I smell just a teensy, tiny hidden “must” there???

 If they make a decision to get involved with an internet venue, they can just make a decision to stop the behavior

Could you be saying; If I make a decision to get involved with something, I ought to be able to just make a decision to stop the behavior” ?

I do this a lot.  I get depressed, and then berate myself for getting depressed because smart, REBT guys shouldn’t get depressed, or should be able to snap out of it by wiggling our dear little noses.   Ironically, when I catch this, I do immediately begin to feel a lot better, and without heroic disputing and replacing as  the distortion is so obviously distorted, and the rational replacement is so obviously apparent.

Deal with your musts, explicit or hidden, in all of their variations, as well as self-downing for your inability to do as you must, and you can free up energy that may allow you to deal more effectively and successfully with time management and procrastination.


Khon Kaen,Thailand

How comfortable are you with how you use the Internet?  What techniques, if any, do you use to manage your online time? Please join the discussion below.  Your views are important and we LOVE  hearing from you.



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Originally posted 2013-04-17 06:48:45.

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