Internet Productivity

5 Tips to Prevent Internet Addiction and Study More Effectively

Georgina Torbet Updated 16-03-2020

Internet addiction has been a big topic in the media in recent years. Some people spend so much time online that it negatively impacts the rest of their lives. So what is internet addiction and how can you avoid developing it?

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What Is Internet Addiction?

Prevent Internet Addiction - anxiety

You may have heard alarming news stories about the epidemic of internet addiction and the harm it can do, especially to young people. You’ll also hear people use similar terms like “computer addiction” or “gaming addiction”.

In some countries, like China, the situation is so serious that the government has introduced regulations designed to curb internet use among young people.

The Harmful Effects of Excessive Internet Use

One thing is clear: Some people use the internet or games as a way to escape from their problems. The signs can be many:

  • They might stay up too late playing games and not get enough sleep.
  • Their schoolwork or career might suffer because they spend too much time at their computer.
  • They might socialize less with friends or family because they are too wrapped up in their virtual lives.

Excessive use of the internet can stop them from getting what they want out of life.

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Even people who don’t suffer to this degree may have some problems with over-reliance on the internet. We’ve all had the experience of knowing that we should start that work project, or go to that party, or that we need to go to bed.

But the computer is right there. And we click on another video or sit down to watch just one more episode. We’re drawn to the comfortable glow of the screen even when we know we should be doing something else.

We’re only harming ourselves in the long run.

Is Addiction the Right Word?

Prevent Internet Addiction - computer
Image Credit: Maya Maceka/Unsplash

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Psychologists disagree on whether “addiction” is a helpful model for this issue.

The concept of addiction comes from the issue of drug and alcohol abuse. These substances usually create a physical as well as a psychological dependence. It’s not clear that using the internet or computers is really “addictive” in the same way that drugs are.

If someone is spending too much time on their computer, that may well be a symptom of a problem rather than the problem itself. They could be dealing with anxiety or depression, and being on the computer makes them feel safe and in control.

They could be experiencing social isolation so they make friends online. Or they could be struggling to motivate themselves to do their jobs or schoolwork and start using the internet as a distraction.

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But let’s leave the terminology aside. To prevent internet addiction from becoming a problem, you need to address these deeper issues.

Strategies to Avoid Internet Addiction

If you or someone you know is concerned about over-reliance on the internet, there are some strategies you can put in place to reduce its appeal and make a change to your life.

1. Set Clear Goals

Prevent Internet Addiction - set goals

Decide exactly what you want to achieve, that you are not achieving because of internet use. That could be getting your homework done. Or it could be spending more time with friends and family. Or it could be getting more exercise.

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Then write this goal down on paper. Think about why this goal is important, and how much better your life will be if you achieve it. The idea is to replace a negative feeling—“Urgh, I have all this homework to do”—with a positive one—“I’ll be so much less stressed and more confident at school if I finish my homework.”

Then set an actionable goal. That could be “I will work on this project for 20 minutes every day.” Or “I will go to the gym three times a week.” Make it as specific as possible.

2. Make A Plan

Whatever your issue is, you need to create a plan. If you’re at school or university, you could set a study plan. Or you could map out your work project or fitness plan.

Write down how much time you want to spend on your project each week. Write down what you’re aiming to achieve in that time. Think about when and where you will have specific blocks of time to dedicate to your project instead of being on the internet.

Start off small. Remember, you won’t be able to achieve your goals all at once. It will take time and patience to meet them.

You could begin by working for just five minutes every day on a project. Or go to the gym once a week. Pick something easily achievable, that you could manage even if you had a really bad day.

3. Reward Yourself for Your Efforts

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Image Credit: AlessandroZocc via Shutterstock.com

Once you’ve achieved what was in your plan each day, you can give yourself time on the internet as a reward. You might try the Pomodoro technique The Best Pomodoro Timer Apps to Rocket Your Productivity If you often hit a productivity wall after a few hours of work, a Pomodoro timer could help you keep your focus. This selection of timers has an option for every platform. Read More , in which you work at something for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break.

Planning for breaks is very important. When you start, you’ll be tempted to say that you’ll work for four hours each day, and not use the internet at all. But that’s not realistic. You might even manage it for a couple of days, but then you’ll lose motivation and give up entirely.

Be honest about your downtime. Maybe you’ll work for one hour in the evenings, then take the rest of the evening off to watch TV or use the computer. Enjoy this time knowing that you’ve earned it because you completed your goal.

4. Make It Work for You

Consider what it is about using the internet that you find so compelling. Do you like the social aspect of interacting online? Do you enjoy the challenge of trying to beat an opposing team at a game? Do you spend time on Twitter because you want to feel up to date with current events?

Find ways to tie what you like about the internet into the rest of your life.

Work out what is putting you off from making a change. Maybe you hate studying because you feel bored and lonely. In that case, you could join a study group. Maybe you hate going to the gym because you don’t know what you’re doing there and you feel foolish. In that case, you could hire a personal trainer to show you how to use the equipment.

5. Get Social Support

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Image Credit: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock.com

One of the biggest factors in anyone successfully changing their habits is the support of people around them. If someone you know is trying to make a change around how they use the internet, then support them and congratulate them when they make progress.

Shaming someone for their choices and making them feel bad isn’t an effective way to motivate change.

Stop Internet Addiction and Achieve Your Goals

It’s not easy to change ingrained habits, and it can be hard to break free from the familiarity of the internet. But by focusing on the goals you want to achieve and putting a plan in place, you can avoid backsliding into old habits.

If you have similar problems with being on your smartphone too much, then you might find our guide on how to build better smartphone habits with home screen tweaks Build Better Smartphone Habits With 8 Home Screen Tweaks These simple smartphone home screen tweaks can help make your phone less compelling and free you to get more done. Read More to be helpful.

Related topics: Education Technology, Productivity Tips, Students, Study Tips.

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  1. Anonymous
    November 30, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks dude

  2. söveci
    October 12, 2009 at 10:33 am

    will be very useful for me too

  3. Jack Cola
    September 29, 2009 at 6:57 am

    One other thing that I forgot to mention to help you study more. However, this may be hard for some people to do due to available space.

    The tip is to "Have your computer with the internet connection in one room, and study in another." I don't think I have to explain why.
    -----------------------------------
    One more thing, make sure your close down all your programs when you are trying to study. Make sure you don't get IM, Email, Twitter popups as these can easily distract you for a few hours or make your mind wonder to do other things.

    Hope these 2 tips help as well. :)

  4. John Carl
    September 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    very useful tips.

  5. saeed
    September 27, 2009 at 7:52 am

    usefull for me.

  6. tad
    September 27, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Easier said than done....

  7. venkat
    September 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Scheduling planing and implementing is very difficult for a blogger to stay away from itternet.

  8. Delilah
    September 26, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Being a student, I know how fast you can burn up an hour on the internet. The internet society is so interesting that time just seems to zip by. If you need to get something done, don't even check your email!

  9. Shahab khan
    September 26, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Well i would say that you must not stay online for no reason...i mean if you have nothing important to do on internet then its better you go offline and do something else(like study in your case).
    One more thing i would like to say here is that one must plan first what he/she has to do on the internet then accordingly time should be given to internet works.

    • Jack Cola
      September 26, 2009 at 3:13 am

      Thanks guys, they are very good tips. Make sure that when you plan, you stick with it. Don't do what the cartoon says. Give in to temptation

  10. Jack Cola
    September 26, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Hi Robomaster, I knew it wasn't there, but due to popular demand, I have added it for everyone's convenience :)

    Finishing off Jackson's comment, getting out of bed in the afternoon is not a good thing either. (Unless you do night shifts). Go to bed early, get up early is the best, but also hard to do. Well that's my personal opinion.

  11. Jackson Chung
    September 26, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Sleep early! Late nights and cramping does nothing for you in the long term.

  12. Robomaster
    September 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    It seems that the link to the author's blog was not added correctly. Better add it before he gets mad. ;-)

    Very helpful post, I love the comic! (It's waaaayyy too true though...)

  13. dining furniture
    September 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing tips regarding this topic! It is very helpful! I also tend to prioritize the internet than my books and homework and projects and lot more!!