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Addiction to internet/computers

Old 07-02-2014, 10:43 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Coldfusion - I think what Dee tends to say about this is related to SR and how spending a lot of time on it enriches life rather than diminishes it - and this is true for me as well as far SR goes specifically. It has helped me save my life and quit a very destructive habit (drinking).

My concern here is not a specific message board or any specific online activity, it's more the totality of it and how it's seriously off balance compared with my 3D world offline activities. I guess this all depends also on the actual person, our lifestyle choices, where we live... I'm concerned about mine because I do have a plethora of offline possibilities around me that I really don't use as I could, to say the least. It's such a weird phenomenon how we become desensitized to the "real world" over years spent with the incredible, and incredibly different, stimulation that techonology and the internet allows. I wasn't always like this: used to be very active in the real world, loved to travel and see everything, explore nature, go out to see movies, live shows, music... For me this serious skewing developed in line with my alcohol problem during the years when I lived in a very low stimulation environment and I did little else but drinking and hanging on the computer in my apartment. Then I moved to a place like NYC, and struggle with really enjoying all it has to offer... I definitely wasn't always like this, for example, when I lived in another great city (London) for years before that "downward spiral period".

So now I want to change all this and be more balanced again, it's just so incredibly hard. I think because of what LTV also touched upon: our longer term experiences can inflict some serious biological changes in our brains; a lot of these are plastic and reversible, but it requires some herculean efforts to "remodel". Well, we are talking about recovery again, another aspect of it.

I really don't want to be this pessimistic, would rather always focus on the positive, but to be honest it's sometimes easy to get discouraged. I still do at times and for me it does not help that it's such a common issue and everyone is doing the same, because it does not mean it's all good for us.

As for introversion or social anxiety - I really am an introvert, but not shy and don't have much social anxiety, really. Far from a social butterfly, but I'm good at communication when I do it. It's more this entrapping habit...

Yes, Missunhappy, it's as embarrassing as the alcohol problem sometimes... and I've never done very well with denial so it's hard not to feel it.

All this also makes me think that the value of routine face-to-face support (such as frequent meetings and working the steps 1:1 with a person) should not be dismissed. I personally would not have anything against it... am mainly just lazy, honestly!
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:59 AM
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I don't know if I could qualify it as an addiction, but it certainly appears to be an obsession! I often notice among the young, especially, that they are constantly looking down and texting. Even when they are among friends, they are texting people standing right next to them! Texting, tweeting, facebooking, and whatever other ways people have to obsess over themselves these days.

As for myself, I do also have trouble pulling myself away from screens and getting out into the real world to interact with living, breathing human beings. I work at a computer all day, too, so I easily can spend 90% of my day that way. It really starts to feel isolating at times.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:16 PM
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I've been thinking about the parallel with alcohol, we sometimes tell people to say go without alcohol for a week or 30 days and see if you can manage, what about social media?

I say social media as technology/internet is needed for work, but there is so much other internet related activity that is not crucial to our survival, could we go a period of time without access to it? or are we dependant on it, what about a mobile phone outside of work only being used for talking and nothing else, no internet access?

I know for me I have almost a panic attack when my internet connection drops, the electric/power goes off or when I'm away from access to social media for a period of time for one reason or another, even when my mobile phone drops out of signal.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:05 PM
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Yes definitely I get highly uneasy each time my internet connection drops, but to be honest, I often see even more severe reactions to this from others around me - I've already been trying to stay mindful of these things for a good while (just stuck in the awareness phase).

I think it might be a good start to do, say, a 30-day challenge of limiting unnecessary internet/computer/tech time. I think I could do that if I seriously made it a priority - see how I feel - is it better really? (Maybe it won't be better, maybe it won't improve my well-being in the end? Never tried.)

I used to be very good at compartmentalizing my life: focus on work and the technology related to work during what I designated as working hours - then go home or go out and enjoy other aspects of life. Funny enough, because back then I often thought compartmentalizing my life that way was a little unhealthy (I tended to compartmentalize and structure most activities, not by external demands and rules, just my own). So when this approach got broken by demands of always being available online etc, I actually thought it was a good thing as it moved me out of my strong compartmentalizing (controlling?) tendencies, moved me into a a state of increased connection.

I guess it's like many things: constructive in a certain dose, not so good at extremes.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:46 PM
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The only part of the internet that I am addicted to is SR. When I am not on SR, I have very little I want to look at.

My husband and kids got medieval on me when Facebook came out: they demanded in no uncertain terms that I of all people should STAY OFF and never get an account! I can see where addictive-natured people could waste entire days and nights scoping every little thing that every person they ever knew does! Glad I'm not part of it!
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:52 PM
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Haennie has already quoted me on SR, lol.
I think the time here enriches me, and continues to.

I know I'd be a hot mess right without the support of SR.
I really believe SR is about people - not teh interwebz.

But I also like information at my fingertips - I love it.

I can think back to the 80s when the limited amount of information we had was in the library and already out of date.
Again I think my life is enriched.

But there are parts of the internet I tried that I found weren't so good for me.

I find social media is a monumental timewaster geared to the inane and vacuous observation.

A lot of the popular culture forums that I used to frequent seem to be populated mostly by 12 yos these days, so I've withdrawn from those too.

I also really bristle when I'm trying to engage someone in conversation and they're tapping on their ipad.

Bottom line is I've never had internet withdrawal...when my telephone line goes down I do other stuff and take a break

D

Last edited by Dee74; 07-02-2014 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:57 PM
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That's true about information access--I used online libraries constantly when I was studying.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:06 PM
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_5546846.html
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LeTheVerte View Post
From discussion with others I have heard that the act of searching and reading online is changing the very biology of the way our brains function, pursue and store knowledge. I do not know enough about it...but I am so interested in understanding how what I did years ago in the library is so fundamentally different from how a current college student searches for answers to the very same questions. How does internet searching and reading become pathology? Who determined this and based upon what criteria?
.
Great question. And great thread, Haennie. I relate to what most of you all are saying here.

I think there is something about the novelty of discovery that is unique to the internet. Maybe that's not the best way to say it. What I'm trying to say is I think that the constant clicks, divergences, tangents... make it possible to discover so much, so quickly... it's just different from the way a book is laid out. And I see this as paralleling or analogous to the neural pathways in the brain and how they are malleable.

There is the possibility of neverending clicks to get to ALL the information available And that's rather intoxicating. So I can see how this ties into addiction in the sense that there is no delayed gratification. And there's a surprise or novelty behind every "click."

Since getting sober I've noticed my anxiety rise whenever I have to be without the computer, the iPhone, or leave the house for too long. I guess my connection has taken the place of the alcohol addiction. I've also started shopping online a whole lot more and am having to watch this. There are days where I get a lot of cleaning done, organization, errands outside the house, meetings etc. And there are days where 85% of it was spent online. So I'm kind of going back and forth with it. Last week I managed to stay offline a good chunk of my time. This week, I'm going back online more. So I guess I go in cycles.

Haennie, I'd like to mention the book Cyber Junkie by Kevin Roberts. I'm currently reading it. It had some pretty good reviews online. I'll comment on this thread with anything good I find in it.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:51 PM
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You know how when you lose the ability to use one sense the others become heightened or enhanced? Like blindness leading to enhanced auditory sensitivity? After reading your link Endgame and thinking about your OP Haennie, it seems that a solution to the internet overuse is to slowly increase activities that involve more 3-D touch while similarly decreasing overall 2-D tech use throughout the day, then week, then month.

Simple things like having a complex wooden puzzle on the coffee table. Walking a bit more between bus stops. Making a green salad everyday. Aikido classes. Face to face coffee interactions. Hanging out with our 'Elders' Essentially slowly re-creating a diversified support network or family that offers more 3-D tactile stimulation...you already concluded as much in your thread, Haennie. There has to be accountability and loose structure...not a schedule but a routine. Essentially it is going back to the basic needs and adding a little flair

It seems that many questions with addiction always come back to ensuring and protecting the basic needs for survival and then adding positive things for growth and balance. Letting the brain 'catch' onto things along the way.

Thanks again Haennie and SRers, this has been very insightful

And it is 2:45am and I need to go to sleep. Basics!

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Old 07-03-2014, 01:59 AM
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Thanks, all, for the interesting and insightful responses! I'm hesitant to share scientific studies on this subject just yet, most of you may recognize it's an early phase of even recognizing these problems. Believe me, all, these issues are and will be subject of tons of research efforts in the present and not-so-far future. Just needs more time for even some preliminary rigor.

So in agreement of the (mostly) lack of scientific knowledge, it also seems that none of us "recovery junkies" can come up with any "tried a true" method. And many are trying these days, without doubt

Perhaps there will be a Bill W or an Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Antonio Damasio, Eric Nestler (he's one of my professional heroes), or perhaps even one of the current great computer scientists or economists (you can list your favorites) - come up with a solution. One possible solution.
But history has shown, even then, it might not be that simple.

Anyhow, thanks so much, everyone, for the very inspiring responses!!

I suggest that we keep this thread alive, whenever anyone has anything interesting to add...
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by desypete View Post
my last relationship was with a girl who seemed so lovely on facebook and her texts on my phone were so warm and loving, when we met she was lovely but very quiet, she wouldnt hardly say a word not what i expected judging by how open she was both online and on here phone

after over a year of this with her it came to a point were she would be on her phone texting people all day and night and ignoring me in many instances
i could see that is how she lives her life, she doesnt need a partner who wants to go out and do things with she is happy just locked up in the e - world
i was left to feel very much alone yet i was in a releationship with her so it ended as i would really rather be on my own than be in a relationship that makes me feel like i am alone

but it does make me wonder if this the future for a lot of people ? will people simply stop going out to meet anyone and stay in there homes ?
This is my husband to a T. It worked nicely when I was drinking because I went and did my thing and he had his gaming consoles and the internet to keep him busy. Now that I'm sober that isn't working out quite so well. You say that she was different when you met her? When I hear my husband talking to his gaming buds it's like I'm listening to someone I don't know. It's two different personalities. I am who I am who I am no matter where I am or what I'm doing. What ya see is what ya get.

His daughter is the same way. 26 years old and she was 11 when I met her. I have never heard or seen friends that she has, never mention of a boyfriend or girlfriend, completely antisocial off the internet.

It's too bad really. It can be a life sucker if you let it.
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:19 AM
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What bugs me with conversation these days is that text messages and phonecalls now take preference, so you'll be talking with someone, and then they receive a call/text, immediately your conversation is put on hold as that text/call MUST be dealt with, how about finish the conversation and then look at your messages afterwards? the technology always jumps to the top of the priority list and the physical person sat in front goes straight to the bottom of that list.

So I know what you mean LadyBlue, how do people ever develop social and conversation skills when technology takes such a priority as face to face conversation becomes so stop/start and put on hold at the whim of technology.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:06 AM
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Being a sneaky, manipilative, under-handed control freak who wants attention when having a conversation or leading a meeting requires developing tactics that work without insult.

1. Leading a meeting: "Okay, let's get...oh, wait." Take cellphone out. Put on silent, lay on table or podium. "I turned that thing off. If you'll all do the same we'll probably get finished sooner without interruptions." Then wait on them. When the first person sets down their phone, proceed.

2. One on one: Take cellphone out. Put on silent, lay on table. "I turned that thing off. I'd rather to talk to you right now." Pause.

I'm not above despicable tactics. If someone's phone keeps interrupting even after being asked to focus on the meeting, stop and ask them if they need to attend to an emergency. One on one, should they stop for a call or text, you text them sitting right beside them. Ask them, "Is a better?".
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:35 AM
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Thanks for this topic, Haennie. I was worried that I was becoming addicted to SR there for a while. I think sobriety has helped me become more conscious of everything that I do and I try to keep things in balance. A major change that I have made is that I will no longer speak on my cell phone when someone is waiting on me or checking me out at a store. I have always understood how rude it is, but continued to do it. Ewww!!
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by trachemys View Post
Ask them, "Is a better?".
"Is that better?"

Stupid morning fingers.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by purpleknight View Post
What bugs me with conversation these days is that text messages and phonecalls now take preference, so you'll be talking with someone, and then they receive a call/text, immediately your conversation is put on hold as that text/call MUST be dealt with, how about finish the conversation and then look at your messages afterwards? the technology always jumps to the top of the priority list and the physical person sat in front goes straight to the bottom of that list. So I know what you mean LadyBlue, how do people ever develop social and conversation skills when technology takes such a priority as face to face conversation becomes so stop/start and put on hold at the whim of technology.
I have watched people text each other that are in the same room. I have witnessed a bunch of people who are at a get together all on there phones texting. My daughter does not answer her phone if I call her I will receive a text message from her moments later "did you call me?"

People are evolving. We don't want to talk to each other any more, it takes too much time.

Here's the worst. I was having a conversation with my husband about his video game buds. You know, the ones that he has a whole different personality for. I told him that sometimes it appears that he cares more about them than he does his own family. Get this reply. He likes dealing with people on the internet because he can back out anytime he feels like it. If he's done interacting he doesn't have to stay engaged in a conversation like you have to on real life.

Wow what have we become?
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:03 AM
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My dad's health has declined recently, and I find myself taking time to communicate with him face-to-face and going places with him. He is not technically aware at all, and I used to just be wrapped up in schoolwork and my other activities. I used to communicate with him on an as-needed basis.

But now that he depends on me more, I am spending more quality time with him (even if I have to holler to make myself heard ). As a result, he has become friendlier, truly grateful and humble, and even seems to hear a little better.

I am delighted at this development.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyBlue0527 View Post
I have watched people text each other that are in the same room. I have witnessed a bunch of people who are at a get together all on there phones texting. My daughter does not answer her phone if I call her I will receive a text message from her moments later "did you call me?" People are evolving. We don't want to talk to each other any more, it takes too much time. Here's the worst. I was having a conversation with my husband about his video game buds. You know, the ones that he has a whole different personality for. I told him that sometimes it appears that he cares more about them than he does his own family. Get this reply. He likes dealing with people on the internet because he can back out anytime he feels like it. If he's done interacting he doesn't have to stay engaged in a conversation like you have to on real life. Wow what have we become?
Guess what gang? It's not gonna change. We can b!tch and complain all we want about it, but it's here to stay. Progress/technology will continue to change our lives. We can romanticize about how great the "good old days" were or we can embrace the new frontier. I choose the later.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:16 AM
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The movie "Her" keeps popping into my mind with this thread. Have you seen it?
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