Where are you on the internet addiction scale?
The University of Surrey recently developed a new internet addiction “spectrum” that categorizes internet users into five groups. Dr. Brigitte Stangi, the study’s lead author, said, “Our main aim was to clarify the difference between using the internet in a problematic way and being addicted to it.” Also, she said young people have a higher risk of internet addiction.
The internet is ubiquitous in our lives, but it must not preoccupy every moment. We cannot escape going online but must know when to log out and return to reality. Otherwise, we may cause serious harm to our relationships, careers, and other important parts of our lives. Fortunately, this internet addiction scale can help gauge your dependence.
This article will elaborate on the University of Surrey’s internet addiction scale. Later, I will cover the effects of online addiction and how you can deal with them.
What is the Internet addiction scale?
Surrey’s study involved 796 participants and classified them into five groups. Let us go through each category to see which one fits your daily online habits:
- Casual Users (14.86%): These folks only go online for specific tasks and log off immediately. They show no signs of addiction, and their average is 33.4 years old. Also, they have the least interest in testing new apps.
- Initial Users (22.86%): These people tend to stay online longer than initially intended. They usually neglect household chores but don’t consider themselves internet addicts. Initial Users’ average age is 26.1 years, and they are moderately interested in new apps.
- Experimenters (21.98%): This group feels uneasy or anxious when not connected to the internet. Once they go online, they feel better. Experimenters are more willing to try out new apps and technology, and their average age is between 22.8 and 24.3 years.
- Addicts-in-Denial (17.96%): These users display addictive behaviors like forming new relationships online and neglecting real-world responsibilities to be online. However, they won’t admit to feeling uneasy when they’re not connected. They are also quite confident in using mobile technology.
- Addicts (22.36%): This group openly acknowledges their internet addiction and recognizes its negative impact on their lives. They are the most confident in using new apps and technology. Their time online is significantly greater than that of the Casual Users.
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Dr. Brigitte Stangi, the lead author of this study, shared a few words regarding her team’s findings. “Our study underscores the need for tailored interventions and support for individuals at various stages of internet addiction.”
“The findings will certainly influence the design and development of digital services and AR applications, ensuring they cater to the diverse needs of users in the current digital environment,” she added.
What are the symptoms of internet addiction?
Have you matched your internet activity with the scale above? If you suspect you have internet addiction, confirm whether you exhibit the following symptoms listed by the University of Melbourne:
- You spend more and more time on the Internet.
- Also, you keep thinking about online activities when you’re offline.
- You’re struggling to reduce or stop your internet usage.
- Worse, you might be using the Internet as a way to escape from your problems.
- Moreover, you feel mood swings, including feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability, and restlessness.
- You might put off relationships, studies, and careers to spend more time online.
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How do I stop my internet addiction?
If the internet addiction spectrum results spooked you, don’t worry. You have many ways to curb your excessive use of online devices and services:
- Admit that you have a problem so that you can accept taking steps to fix it.
- The International Psychology Clinic says you can take a Digital Detox to fight internet addiction. It involves reducing the amount of time you spend on gadgets. For example, you could limit online chats to 30 minutes.
- Turn off or silence notifications for apps and websites to prevent the temptation to go online.
- Use a free app to limit internet usage. Alternatively, use your iPhone’s Focus Mode whenever you are doing something important.
- Get hobbies that don’t involve the internet, such as playing sports or drawing.
- Spend more time with friends and family and talk to them regarding your addiction.
- Also, you may ask someone close to you to keep your devices for a specific period to reduce your internet time.
- If these methods don’t work, don’t be afraid to consult a psychologist. A mental health professional can help you solve the root cause of your internet addiction.
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The University of Surrey released its internet addiction spectrum to help those struggling with this condition find help. It seems Surrey succeeded because it is reaching more folks worldwide.
Read a few more Inquirer Tech articles, and you’ll realize how important the Internet is in daily life. However, we must know how to put limits to maintain a healthy and balanced life.
This article does not offer medical advice. Consult a medical professional if you have been struggling to quit for an extended period. Learn more about the latest digital trends at Inquirer Tech.
Frequently asked questions about Internet addiction
Why should you limit your internet use?
Excessive internet usage can damage your eyes, cause carpal tunnel syndrome, and promote other health problems. Also, you are more likely to feel isolated as you distance yourself from friends and family. Contrary to popular belief, speaking to many online can make you feel lonelier. That solitude can cause depression and other mental health issues.
Should I stop using the Internet?
You cannot stop using the Internet because it is a part of daily life. Nowadays, we use cyberspace to buy products and services, play games, and perform office work. Isolating yourself from the Internet will only make life more difficult. Instead, limit your internet usage to still have time for other aspects of your life.
What if I can’t stop my internet addiction?
Consult a physician or psychologist if your internet usage interferes with your daily activities. You probably have a more severe condition that is preventing you from curbing that obsession. Moreover, you should speak with your friends and family to find ways you’d beat that addiction together.