Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, Myspace… the list is endless. Millions of us are addicted. The Government tells us that our time wasting internet addictions are costing the country billions of dollars every year. Our productivity at work is dismal because we spend most of the day reading our Fun Wall or checking out our favorite blogs. Can this additive behavior be beaten?
The answer is yes.
In this article I want to give you some simple and concrete ways to beat your time wasting internet addiction.
Facebook Syndrome: How to tell if you are an internet addict
Before we start you need to find out if you are an addict. Once you have admitted to yourself that you are addicted to your favorite website we can go about giving you some solutions for that problem. Here are some surefire signs that you are addicted:
1. You are late for meetings because you are on Facebook
If you ever late for a meeting or an appointment because you were checking your updates on Facebook or watching a related video on Youtube then you know you are addicted. This is classic addict behavior. It is time to get help.
2. You think about it when you are offline
I have several friends who struggle to get to sleep because they are thinking about the latest game or wondering how their website statistics are looking. If you do this then it could be a sign that you are heading towards a problem.
3. Your friends and family comment on your excessive internet use
When other people around you start to notice that you have a problem it is generally a pretty accurate indicator that you are losing it. If your mates, coworkers or family members have made comments about how much you use the net then you need to read the rest of this post.
4. You check your accounts from your Blackberry
A Blackberry is designed as a business tool. It is supposed to allow you to check your important emails and work materials without having to be in the office. It is not for checking Facebook or Myspace updates while you are having dinner with me. That is just not on. If you use your Blackberry for monitoring your social media accounts then you need help.
5. You get stressed when a Facebook “friend” doesn’t add you
Have you ever noticed yourself getting stressed over something that has happened on Facebook or Myspace? Do you ever feel like your online life is more real than your offline life? If you have been stressed about what rapper you turned out as or what magic egg someone sent you then it is time to open your eyes.
How to easily beat time wasting internet addictions
photo credit: Fuschia Foot
Now that you have established that you have a problem you need to get yourself some recovery tools. The strategies and tools that are presented here are some simple ways you can beat the Facebook Syndrome.
1. Admit that you have a problem
I want you to take a deep breath and then repeat after me. Seriously, repeat this out a loud – even if you are in your office or an internet cafe.
“I have an internet addiction problem.”
Good. Now that you have acknowledged your problem we can proceed. There is no point in trying to beat an addiction if you do not seriously believe that you have one. This is important.
2. Write down exactly how much time you spend on each site
photo credit: â—Tokilâ—
This task is more difficult than you might think. Usually we have a work window open, a Facebook window open and then maybe some windows with our favorite blogs waiting for them to update. What you need to do is close the windows and only open them once you have written down the time. Then when you close the window you need to write the time down again. At the end of the day add up how much time you have been on your chosen site and record it in a little book.
The reason it is important to know how long you have been on the sites is because it gives you a solid measure of how bad your addiction is. Recovering gamblers do the same thing. They write down how much money they spend in a day. We need to write down our Facebook hours!
After a few days, weeks and months this number should decrease.
3. Give yourself a set time of the day to visit
We need to realize that spending time on these sites is not a bad thing. Done in the right amounts it can be a lot of fun and even quite healthy. However, if you start to notice that your law school assignment is still not done because you have been watching Tom Cruise’s Scientology rant on Youtube all night then it has gone beyond a joke.
Instead of banning the site altogether why not give yourself a set period of time to visit? For example, you might give yourself the first 20 minutes of the work day you check all your updates and then not log on for the rest of the day. Or you might decide that the last 30 minutes of work is Myspace time as a reward for a long day of super productive work.
Banning your addiction outright often leads to a Facebook relapse. We don’t want this. Give yourself some set times to visit and don’t break the limits.
4. Turn off email notifications
Email notifications are like little red devils coming to sit on your shoulder and begging you to come back and visit Facebook. Turn them off. You don’t need to be notified every time someone sends you a message. If it was that important they should email you or, God forbid, use the telephone. You also don’t need to be notified every time someone rates your sexiness, adds a fish to your aquarium or sends you a new bumper sticker!
Turn off email reminders so you can get on with your work.
5. Meditate as soon as the thought arises
One of the most powerful ways to beat Facebook Syndrome is to look directly at the tempting thought as soon as it arises in your mind. You do not need to judge it or try to push it out – just look at it. The thought might arise as a worrying thought that begs you to check your updates so you don’t offend anyone. Or it might appear as a carefree thought saying that one quick look won’t hurt. Whatever it arises as the meditation is to just look at it. When you can do that the power of the thought will be drained well and truly.
6. Get off the computer
Really… do you need to spend that much time on the computer? Honestly ask yourself that. Instead of getting home, pouring a beer and sitting in front of the computer to check your updates you could go for a walk, hit the gym or go and see a movie. There is so much more to do in life than watch your hatching egg grow. Really there is.
7. Write down what you used to do before Facebook
Something that can be really useful to do is write down a list of things that you used to do before you got addicted to Facebook or Myspace. For example, some people might write, “I used to meet girls”. 🙂
Try and reconnect with what you used to do before these sites became such a big part of your life. Some of you will be quite surprised at how much you now do not do because you are spending so much time on the internet. You may also notice that around the same time your waistline suddenly got bigger…
8. Block the sites the REAL way
Your computer allows you to block certain sites. Sure, you can unblock them straight away if you wanted to but the more barriers you put in your way the better. However, if you want to seriously block these sites from your computer you can do it the REAL way:
Click START and then select RUN. In that box type notepad c:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. A neat little Notepad will appear with a bunch of computer jargon on it. Scroll down to the last line of that code and type 127.0.0.1 facebook.com. After that Facebook will never show up on your PC again. You can substitute the domain for any other domain that you do not want to view.
Conclusion on beating Facebook Syndrome
This article is intended as a bit of a joke because I noticed that I was spending a ridiculous amount of time on these sites. The above techniques are techniques I have used to cut back on the time I was wasting. I am sure they will work for you but if you know of any other then please let us know.
top image: photo credit: bryanearl
Originally posted on May 13, 2008 @ 3:15 pm
This is pretty funny actually. I love the references to the fun wall and the hatching eggs. Sounds like somebody is a Facebook user…. lol
Another excellent article that actually helps me quite a lot. I am addicted to Myspace in the worst possible way.
Check out some of the Digg comments there are some more good suggestions.
Yeah I spend a good two hours a day on Facebook. I have over 250 friends. But, to be honest my life isn’t any better. It has helped me catch up with a few old friends but it isn’t as real as a coffee or going to a movie like you suggested.
But, if it wasn’t for FB I wouldn’t see them at all. Is that a bad thing?
lol. another top post daily minder. facebook is a joke. people that spend all day checking up on their friends and voyueristically searching for people are losers.
The Daily Minder
JB – Although I wouldn’t say people who use Facebook are “losers” I would agree with you that looking up what all your friends are doing is a bit weird. I personally do not enjoy Facebook because I am always getting notifications about my friends day to day activities.
I just don’t need to know!
Thanks for the comment.
I would have to agree with JB. Facebook is for losers. My wife is on there constantly, and complains when she does not get updates when she thinks she should.
She does not get anything done anymore, and when I locked her off of my computer as I was sick of how much stuff and personal info she was putting up, she threw a huge fit, like a frickin’ baby.
There is a such thing as the real world, get out and socialize with real people, not sickos that think that Facebook and myspace are an intelligent way to make and keep friends.
The Daily Minder
lolatme – That is a very wise and interesting observation.
True facts. Facebook, along with other internet activities it’s very addictive.
The Daily Minder
Sandossu – Are you addicted?
Try Leechblock as a more easy way to control your own internet use. Drawback: it’s a Firefox plug-in so you can escape through IE…
But even if you do go around it (when apparently you need to surf outside of the window that you have set for yourself) you will be feeling bad about it.
The Daily Minder
ji – that is the kind of stuff we are after. another reason also as to why FF is better than IE!
This article is great. Believe it or not, sooner or later my wedding will be called off because of my fiance’s addiction to facebook.
The Daily Minder
KK – that is hilarious in a sad sort of way. I know what you’re feeling.
I think now I can leave facebook land softly because of many assignments both campus and office to do. Thank’s for sharing. Nice posting ^_^
I used this page for a paper, great advice!
Cheers for this article, a great insight. I’m always moaning about how much i use facebook and have boycotted it all together for a while, but your right it’s about using it properly. The saddest thing is i’m just gone 18 and like most people my age point number 7 is a difficult one to answer! We’ve become a generation of procrastinators, it’s time for a change me thinks!
Facebook Addiction is a huge problem. see below to learn more
Thanks for the article..I just started realizing how bad facebook and other websites are for me and I really am gonna try and spend last time on the computer!!
I’m looking for the link to share this with my friends on facebook, LOL!!! I suppose someone is going to make a pill or vaccine for this too!! Some people would like to squash FB because too much info is being shared that they do not want to be shared so easily!! But on another note, yes it can be very addictive!!
A simple trick to ‘breaking’ the addiction.
1) go to settings and turn off all notifications, so as to no longer receive emails on your blackberry.
2) go to your gmail settings and create a filter to have all facebook messages go to your deleted items.
3) Make the password and password-reset questions impossible to remember.
4) Finally, take the password, write it down, leave it at work (in a safe place…of course!).
Now you won’t have silly access to your FB for at least a few days! Now go read a book, work out, spend time with family… 🙂
Hopefully that’ll help ‘break’ the initial addiction.
Just take a break and make a pact not to check myspace or face book for like two weeks and find other things to do .It will be so much more interesting if you take a little break.Thats what Im doing although im taking a month break form myspace and a two week break from facebook.Im taking a summer class and have a 6 page paper thats due soon so I to spend all of my free time writing
MY MOM IS ADDICTED AND I MAY TRY BUT I DONT THINK IT WILL WORK BECAUSE SHE DOESNT CARE HOW I FEEL ANYMORE
I’m soooooo addicted to facebook…
I even wrote a song about it//
here it is:
i was a facebook addict….i used to use facebook even on my mobile phone…..but once my mom told me that life is not all about social networking sites…if u wanna be a social person then have a face to face interaction and not a facebook interaction…after that i deactivated my account and that was 5 months back…i do not use facebook anymore………….just try once………..
I know people who are facebook friends who don’t even like or care about each other in real life. Facebook is a prententious facade that has nothing to do with real life.
facebook can actually totally help people get laid tho. thats why i started using it. the modern human in 2010 is just like a dog in the park… instead of smelling each others asses, we log onto their facebook page. if said persons are socially validated, the next phase begins of commenting, liking, and chatting. finally, physically ‘hanging out’ may occur.. and if its the form of a ‘date’, there might..just might… be some coitus going down GIGGITY GIGGITY alllll riiight
I’ve suffered from physical and mental illness for years and facebook has made things a bit worse. A tip for limiting time is to get up a email address for all messages I have apple Mail and i’ve set things up that way. That way if you get any messages etc then you can actually check what people are saying without going on the website.
BUT get help as well. I’m on the waiting list for therapy and am volunteering for a radio station.
TALKING to people is natural
i started using facebook after having kids as a means to continue some kind of social life while being stuck a home. I think if used correctly, it can be extremely beneficial to people. But that use can easily turn into an addiction. It becomes an imaginary popularity contest. I started using it on my phone, had notifications sent directly to my mobile, i’d check it while with friends, while shopping etc. It’s just ridiculous to think a website can control your life to that extent. I always knew I had a problem, but instead of dealing with it, it became a joke. It’s only now that I want to get back to work and get a real life i’m realising the seriousness of that addiction.
I’ve set myself a goal, (only small just to hopefully break the habit) of not logging in at all for 60 hours. It’s not much, but am already finding, only 18 hours in, how much more productive I’ve become.
It’s killing me, I want to log in and see the comments on my last status update, but I will not until my alarm goes off in 30 something hours.
Is there life after facebook? Yes there is, and it’s real!!
A nice free service that lets you see how often your kids are partner are on facebook is fvoyeur.com
My boyfriend is a facebook addict we fight over fb constantly, whether it’s him staying up late at night drinking beer and chatting with his friends including his good friends who happen to be other girls, or him checking up on people and letting me know information I really could care less about. Also, chores are all up to me now, I am emailing him this article. And I hope he reads all the comments:)))
hahah yeah, facebook addiction is a bitch. there’s this heaps interesting article called “the friend race” on wwww.facebookfacts.info give it a read if you’re bothered, it talks about how everyone reckons they’re awesomer than someone else if they have more friends, pretty lol
This is ridiculous. Who cares if you are on social networking cites too much? They have done more good then bad. Half my friends I wouldn’t have now if I didn’t re-connect with them on facebook. A lot of you are saying it’s a time waster, so posting a comment of here isn’t? wow.
To social-media-networking user, please use with responsible. I have an addict at home and it is not making things easier. You had invested so much in the real things than lose it to visually unknown. That’s very painfully. Researches said it causes 20% divorce related in the state alone. Addicts don’t know they are addict and they are very defective over their visual world. The problem’s which is more important? Your visual friends (some of you may not even known) or your family? But in the visual world, everything is surreal, if you don’t like this or that you can always deleted it. You feel in control. You got followers; visual friends praise you, further feeding your pride and ego. I personality think the real world is brutal and pessimistic, it’s very discomfort. You can’t get all of these in the real world, only in the visual world you can.
Since leaving Facebook is so hard, we figured – why bother? Instead, a day-off might do us some good. Tuesday seems like a good day for that. Who’s with us?
So true……..I became a facebook addict for 3-4 days..
The time I used to wake up and the time I used to sleep..the whole DAY I used to think of my commments ,cousins,,,old friends,,,and stuff
It’s only a fake world,People have there false image on it.!=)
Nice post about Facebook usage. I just wrote an article summing up a whole bunch of different studies and surveys about Facebook addiction, the concept of frenemies, and why depression and other things affect heavy social media users.
Here’s the link if you want to check it out:
We’re also conducting a survey on Facebook usage, check it out here:
Well, my wife and I are separating after almost 7 years and a daughter. For my wife there is nothing more important than face book and other sacial web. I work to hard and go to school as full time. I have to cook too, cus she doesn’t even bother. The 1st year we got together i told her to invested her time in something important. Ok, she went to school and that is,and that was 6 years ago. i can’t take this anymore, I rather to be by myself than having someone waste my time. There is no more love, she has killed every hope. The hard work I did for my family is workless. I did not care that she used it, but it was the long period of at least of 7-9 a day every single day.
I loose so much sleep and i do not do my homework because of facebook. I am so addicted and yesterday I had a huge paper to write that needed me using the computer so I decided I was going to have my friend change my password so I couldnt get in
yea i spend a couple of hours on fb i do that because it makes me feel better i have no idea why im autistic
and a game that i play (yoville) on their makes me feel better about my self i dont have a lot of friends in real life and on yoville i can be my self so just because u dont have a problem doesn’t mean u cant take the Mic because some people do
iam addicted to facebook.
i heck it numerous times per day.
i may type in the code to delete it but hate to lose all of my pics!! some are only in my 2 facebook accts because my pewter crashed once & i lost all pics:(
wish me luck as i try to live life & stop being on line!
GOD, family & animals are whats really important.
You can also use iFreeFace to block Facebook at any time, or to set daily time limits. It also works with games, email and any other distracting websites.
Seriosly!! my productivity at work is diminishing.. I am addicted to fb chat in the worst possible way.. n yes.. i love to keep updating my profile pics and keep visiting FB during office hours..phewww.. actually now m tired of FB…
Will surely try this. 20 mins before work and 20 after its done:)
thanks a ton
“Conclusion on beating Facebook Syndrome
This article is intended as a bit of a joke because I noticed that I was spending a ridiculous amount of time on these sites. The above techniques are techniques I have used to cut back on the time I was wasting. I am sure they will work for you but if you know of any other then please let us know”
How about deleting facebook altogether and live the rest of your life in peace.
Hi, my name is so and so and I’m addicted to FB. This is a very helpful. I have a simuliar suggestion. Whenever you go online first go to online stopwatch, put in the amount of time you want to be on and set the timer, while standing up. I realize I hate standing up while I’m on the computer. I’m more likely to get comfortable sitting and not want to get off my butt even if an alarm sounds. Instead being a coach potato, I’ve become a chair potato.
Thanks for the help.
I’m so and so and I’m addicted to FB.
I am working on my addictions,but they are hard to overcome because I don’t have many close friends,so my main source of socialization is through online sources.If facebook and Twitter shut down for a day or two we all be a lot more productive for those days.
Facebook is not a problem if it’s used in moderation. People go out of their limits only because of it’s addictive nature.
Likes, status updates, comments on photos all these add to your Facebook addiction.
Here http://www.go4break.com service works quite well to break your Facebook addiction.
http://www.go4break.com is launched to cure Facebook addiction. Facebook deactivation is not enough, some more deterrent is needed.
This works really well for people who are wasting time on Facebook.
Facebook is not bad if used in moderation. No software to download or install.
hello! i have been a facebook user as well and i am beginning to realize how much time i do use it and how much it effects my mood. I have been trying to spend less time on it and when i do it gives you more opportunities to do what you need to do and i also like communicating with friends one-on one better than online! ~ Gabby
I have found myself the perfect way to kick my Facebook addiction without deleting the account.
I’ve actually written a very small yet actionable article about it on my website: http://www.micaelnobre.com/facebook-beat-addiction-keep-account/