Many say the Internet has made life – and college specifically – easier than it was in the past. But try telling that to the numerous college students who are currently addicted to it. According to Reuters, a recent study by the University of Maryland showed that students who gave up media for a day – including the Internet – experienced the symptoms of withdrawal. Society’s preoccupation with going online has resulted in an unofficial diagnosis called Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).
If you’re a college student, you might exhibit signs of this so-called disorder. Have your relationships suffered because of the amount of time you spend online? Have you willingly sacrificed going out with friends so that you can chat on Facebook or play games? Have they noticed this and alerted you to the problem? Often times, the Internet negatively affects your real life to the point where you no longer have one, and it can become a sign of bigger psychological issues. Many people use the Internet to escape their problems in the same way alcoholics use alcohol to escape theirs. If long periods of time without it worsens your mental state – like in the University of Maryland students’ case – you should consider taking action to improve your quality of life.
This is when self-control enters the equation. Although you’re essentially required to spend a certain amount of time on the Internet every day, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once. If you’re researching, break it down by task over a period of a few days. Complete online assignments separately from when you surf Facebook, check your email and visit your other favorite websites. Be sure to set limits for your leisure-surfing as well. Don’t allow for it to be your primary source of entertainment and socializing. It’s college. Get out and enjoy the experience firsthand. Frequent the campus recreation center for which you involuntarily pay in your fee bill. Hang out with friends as much as you can, and any way you can. Go to the local bars – talking to a member of the opposite sex is much more fun when it’s done in person. If all of this is too much to handle, consider visiting a counselor or psychologist at your campus’s health center. Once you break your dependency to the Internet, your experience in college will be enhanced.