May 18, 2022

Two Major Signs of Internet Addiction

Recently, I had a chance to board a flight on a well-known airline. However, I was dismayed to discover that they did not offer in-flight domestic Wi-Fi connection. What? How can that possibly be? It’s 2021.  I have been flying with access to the internet for years now. Some airlines are even beginning to offer Wi-Fi access on transatlantic flights. To say that it was a very long and boring six hours would be putting it mildly. So, am I addicted to the internet? This thought actually crossed my mind as I was sitting scrunched against the window listening to some music. 

The first sign of internet addiction is that Instead of making conversation, you reach for your smartphone.

We’ve all done it. After getting settled in your seat at the restaurant and ordering your meal, you immediately reach for your phone to see if you have received any new calls, texts or emails during the time it took for you to walk from the valet stand. The practice is so commonplace that even the most ardent followers of Miss Manners would agree that a quick and discrete check of the phone is acceptable once or twice during a meal. However, an addict will continue to focus on the phone to the point where they have effectively checked out of any ongoing conversation and disappeared into the internet. Not only is this situation extremely rude, but being unable to stay away from the internet for even one hour is a sure sign of a bigger problem.

The solution is that you find yourself engaging in this type of behavior on a regular basis, the best solution is to simply leave the phone in the car. Although we tend to treat all business-related emails as urgent, they’re really not. Situations that absolutely need to be addressed in less than 60 minutes are few and far between. And if you truly need to be available in case of an emergency, let your people know where you’ll be and they can contact you through the restaurant. You might be surprised to learn that this is how things were done before the age of the mobile phone.

Another sign the internet addiction is that you prefer texts and emails to phone calls.

There are now several ways someone can contact us. We can get a letter, an email, a text, a phone call, a tweet, an instant message or a Facebook posting. Although many of us will use a combination of these modes of communication on a daily basis, especially when dealing with business matters, a true internet addict will insist on internet-based methods for all personal contact as well — even from Mom and Dad. It’s almost as if speaking on the phone hurts our jaws and our delicate ears can no longer process the sounds and tones that emit from the receiver. For those of us with an internet addiction, the reason is clear, speaking on the phone requires some semblance of undivided attention and we can’t surf the internet, respond to an email or tweet if we are yammering on the phone. Unfortunately, it can also be a sign that you prefer to be left alone and are heading into “anti-social” territory.

The solution is that you schedule regular update calls with friends and family you don’t live near so that you are forced to communicate verbally at least a few times each month. You can certainly augment these calls with texts and emails in between, but the verbal call should be the time when major news is shared.

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