How to Prevent Internet Addiction & Cyberbullying

Feb 25, 2024

Internet addiction and cyberbullying are two different issues that sometimes overlap among kids and teens. Cyberbullying involves bullying via technological devices. The intent is to scare, intimidate, or harass the individual.

Internet addiction is a term for spending an unhealthy amount of time online. It can harm interpersonal relationships and personal and professional obligations. Yet, more research is needed to determine whether internet addiction is a mental health disorder.

However, it’s similar to other behavioral disorders such as gambling and social media addiction. Both internet addiction and cyberbullying cause anxiety, depression, isolation, insomnia, loss of interest, secrecy and shame, self-esteem issues, and suicidal thoughts. 

How to Avoid Internet Addiction

You may find that you spend too much time online due to problematic use or cyberbullying. There are several methods you can try to avoid internet addiction. You can turn off notifications for emails, text messages, and social media. Or, you can download a free app to track your internet usage. 

Another option is to replace your internet habit with a healthier activity such as working out, cooking a meal, going for a walk, or spending time with friends and family. If you tried these methods and still have an internet addiction, speak with a doctor or mental health professional. They can come up with a specific treatment plan to beat your internet addiction. 

Developing Healthier Habits

Developing healthy habits can help beat addiction. Some fulfilling activities include doing crossword puzzles, reading a book, studying a new language, writing a story, or creating art. These supplement the endorphins you feel whenever you use the internet. 

Determine which hobbies and activities you once enjoyed before your internet addiction. You can also keep yourself busy by volunteering or joining a club in your community. Choose one thing to do every time you get the urge to go online and commit to it. 

Tracking and Limiting Internet Use

It’s normal to use the internet for work or study. However, you should pay attention to how much time you spend online. It becomes a problem when it takes you away from friends, family, and other priorities. 

If you can’t keep track of your internet usage, download an app that tracks it for you. As mentioned, mobile apps can track your usage and control how much time you spend online. You’ll also get timers and reminders of your use. 

What are the therapies used to overcome internet addiction in teens?

Internet addiction can be treated in a variety of ways. Talk therapy is the most common form of treatment since it works. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and group therapy are two other options. Either of these treatment options can help you set boundaries and live a balanced lifestyle. 

Medication treats the symptoms and feelings associated with the addiction. It’s also important to address the underlying root of your internet addiction to overcome your addiction. If your addiction is related to a specific gaming app, online store, website, or social media app, its use could be included in the treatment you receive. 

Tapering Your Time

There are practical and holistic ways that you can wean off your screen time and internet use. Going cold turkey isn’t the best solution, especially when you use the internet for work and study. However, there are some ways to take back control of your life. 

According to the Center for Humane Technology, setting your phone to greyscale will make it difficult to check your phone. It’s unattractive and impractical that you’ll check your phone less. If you can’t have your phone gray at all times, you can set it at certain times like mornings or bedtime. 

Another option is to use a utility-first layout, in which you have to scroll to another window to access your gaming and social media apps. This prevents temptation. Gather all of your social media apps in one folder and hide it on the last of your home screen. You might find yourself checking your phone less. 

Set Boundaries

Internet addiction can slowly take over your life if you don’t manage it. It’s dependent on the chemical effects that come with checking your social media likes, winning an online game, or getting a notification. 

When left untreated, you could lose control over your internet use. Setting boundaries means setting aside a certain time of day to access the internet. Or, you could reduce the types of activities you engage in, such as reading online news or playing games. 

Identify and Work On Underlying Issues

You should determine the underlying issue behind your internet addiction. It may relate to cyberbullying, interpersonal issues, stress, abuse, or trauma. Working with your underlying issues with the help of a mental health professional can help you eliminate the emotional need that feeds into your addiction. 

Change Your Routine

Internet addiction is an unhealthy habit that develops over time. Your routine gradually becomes an unhealthy lifestyle. Overcoming your internet addiction means replacing the behaviors, habits, and routines that support it. 

You could read a book as soon as you return home from work instead of going online. Or, you could meet with a friend at the coffee shop. You must stick with this new routine for it to work. It should reduce your dependence overtime. Postponing or reducing your internet use altogether makes it easier to control your addiction. 

Conclusion

According to a 2013 study by Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans use the internet. It’s not wise to quit the internet altogether since so much of our life is now connected to it. It’s important to take note of any urges or tendencies to spend more time online. Book a free consultation with Birches Health to get a head start on your internet addiction. 

Resources:

Treating Internet Addiction

How to Beat Internet Addiction

Control Your Tech Use

Three Technology Revolutions

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