How to Control Internet and Social Network Addiction? Part 1: The Psychology

Is Internet Wasting your Time?

The irony is: Internet was built to save time! And yet it is one of the big time wasters of this era.

You start watching a video for 5 minutes. But once that ends, you just pick up the next one. So, by the time you realize you gotta stop, you have already wasted hours!

You open Facebook to check the recent notifications. Well, it’s a 2-minute task, right? But you start commenting on posts, liking and reacting all your way down till you realize you have wasted 20 minutes on that.

Ever felt this urge of opening your phone and checking your notifications every few minutes? You may not realize this, but you have already made notifications your obsession. No matter what you do, you check your notification as soon as you hear a tone! Even if your phone is kept in the silent mode, you randomly open your device to check notifications.

You are in attending a class or having a meeting with someone, and you keep on checking your phone now and then. This is an addiction.

Addiction is not always an urge. Addiction can be your failure to control your occasional urge too!

An example is consuming p**nography. You don’t do it now and then. Do you?

But yet, it has become an addiction. You search for p-graphic videos whenever you get free time. That urge you cannot resist. That’s an addiction.

Another example may be drinking alcohol, but it’s not applicable for those who drink every night and made it a daily habit. I am saying about those people who are otherwise sober but enjoys drinking during partying or during weekends. So, it’s not actively monitoring your life, but it has still become an addiction. Anyways, I will keep myself restricted to Internet Addiction only, and not talk about other stuff here.

Let’s talk about Addictions today! And not just tell, let’s try to find out a solution to those addictions. I am sure by the time you end reading this post, you won’t get rid of your addictions at once, but you will become significantly motivated to start quitting your addictions. And if you can follow it regularly, boom! You have won over it.

Well, this post will be more or less a generic post and not related to technology directly. Because the root of all types of addictions are the same. May the force be with you 🙂

Types of your Mind:

Before talking about addictions, I need to clarify what exactly is an addiction and how are we a part of it. Unless you develop a clear idea of what is an addiction you cannot reject it.

Let’s start our discussion at the root of everything: Our Brain.

Yes, that’s the main culprit behind all your addictions.

And for whom does your brain work for?

Yes, it’s you!

So, you are the root of all your addictions. Of course, it’s you that started seeking your addictions in the first place.

Well, for now, let’s separate you and your brain into different beings. Let’s say your brain controls your addictions. So, that means, you have lost control over your brain, which in turn, suggests that you have lost control over yourself.

So, unless you get back yourself into control, you can’t help it.

Now, get ready for some scientific blabbering.

Our mind has three parts:

  • The conscious mind
  • The sub-conscious mind
  • The unconscious mind

How to Control Internet and Social Network Addiction? Part 1: The Psychology

Image Credits: Titamartell.com

Conscious Mind:

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness. If you are aware of some external object or something within yourself, if you can see something, feel something, etc., then those are controlled by your conscious mind. It is alert, it is aware.

Say right now you are reading this article on your mobile phone, then your conscious mind sees the article, feel the mobile in your hand, see the mobile color, etc.

Sub-Conscious Mind:

The subconscious mind controls the stuff that you don’t require a conscious mind to control. It includes your habits, your memories, your skills, your abilities, your beliefs and all those big and small events you have gone through your life that has shaped you.

Anyone knows Touch Typing? Typing without looking at the keyboard at all?

I know, and I apply touch typing whenever I am writing anything on my computer. Many people do the same. It saves a hell lot of time that someone wastes on looking at the keyboard and then looking at the monitor.

And that increases the typing speed to 60, 70, 80… up to 150 or even 175 words per minute. Incredible.

Observe when someone touches types in front of you. The easiest way is to observe typists who type letters etc. What do they do?

They use all of their fingers continuously and type so fast. How do they do it?

They learn it of course. But, do you think they knowingly place all their fingers on the right keys?

Nope! They don’t give their attention to the keys at all. The fingers do the job mostly. The sub-conscious mind takes the control. Sounds magical, right? Learn Touch Typing, my friend. It does wonders. Google it. 🙂

One more example could be given of a guitar player. See how fast he moves his fingers along the frets? Does he require conscious attention over there?

Nope! He can play fast, and even quicker. It’s practice.

So, whenever you achieve a new skill by practice, your subconscious mind takes over and relieves you out.

Your conscious mind can only do limited stuff. So, your subconscious mind plays a significant role in your life to form you.

Say I asked you your phone number, you will immediately tell me that. But, before I asked you, were you actively thinking about your phone number on your mind?

Nope.

You just pulled it in from your subconscious mind. A deeper thinking will lead to the unconscious mind, which is discussed below.

Unconscious Mind:

Unconscious Mind consists of thoughts, feelings, interests, etc. which you cannot control. What’s more surprising is that you don’t even know them.

Mostly you express feelings from your unconscious mind when you are in stress or excitement.

Say you are trying to hide an event from your friend, and yet when you talk to him, and you accidentally speak something you shouldn’t talk about that incident and stop midway. Your friend then asks you what the matter is?

Slip of the tongues is a result of the unconscious mind.

Your unconscious mind also stores your fears, traumas, bad experiences, hardships in life, pain, etc. and makes you different without you even knowing it. For example, your ego may be a result of your unconscious mind.

Your entire life is registered in your unconscious mind. Even if you forget something, the unconscious mind keeps the record.

For example, some people are bad-mouthed. But they don’t even realize that.

Last example: Ever tried to remember an old memory, but it’s not coming to mind. You are scratching your head until you finally recognize it after say 10 minutes of constant trying.

So, if you are always conscious of everything, why could not your remember those stuff in the first place? Its controlled by your unconscious mind.

How does the mind work together?

So now that you know about your mind let’s now come to how it works.

If you keep doing something daily, your conscious mind will register that act and try to master it, so that it can push it to the sub-conscious mind and become free to consume new events.

Once you master that, your conscious mind doesn’t even control that activity. Yes, it knows that the act is ongoing, but it doesn’t control it. The subconscious mind takes over. It becomes a habit.

Earlier I was talking about touch-typing and playing guitar. Those are habits.

Now, the subconscious mind feeds the event to the unconscious mind, which, in turn, shapes you accordingly, which you can’t even realize.

This is how it works.

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What is Addiction and How do we get Addicted?

We human beings are lazy by nature. We seek pleasure from the easiest available choices.

Now, suppose you are browsing the internet and visit a p**nographic website. You spend some time there and get pleasure or satisfaction. And when you are done, you quit it.

Your conscious mind leaves that and gets involved in something else. But, that sense of pleasure gets registered to your sub-conscious mind. It makes you feel good.

That one good-feeling you get is sufficient to make you visit that website once more, so seek that pleasure.

Well, there’s nobody to stop you. Your internet speed is fast, and nobody is watching over you. So, you keep doing that regularly. Your sub-conscious mind gets fed, and it develops into a habit.

And your unconscious mind now registers that and starts changing you accordingly.

Do you know why you feel pleasure?

It is the game of the hormones. Your body releases Dopamine, the pleasure hormone. It gives you that good feeling when you seek pleasure. It brings some neurological changes inside your body.

The more and more dopamine your body releases, the more and more you feel happy. You want to keep on doing the act that secretes more dopamine, to keep yourself comfortable for a prolonged period.

So, you do it excessively. And that’s the first sign of addiction.

Addiction is defined merely as any habit that goes out of your control. So, you lose control over it. You don’t want to stop.

Also, even if you stop, you want to do that act more and more often.

All the urges we feel are the results of constant re-doing of some act over a period which made it a bad habit.

Feel you need to open your mobile phone now and then? That’s an addiction.

Feel you need to browse p-graphy? That’s an addiction.

Feel you need to watch a YouTube video or the next episode of your favorite TV Series? That’s an addiction.

Why can’t we Quit our Addictions?

Why can’t we merely quit our addictions? Just one fine day?

This is because, you can only control your conscious mind, and the subconscious and unconscious mind are out of your control.

Say you decide to quit watching p-graphy.

But your subconscious mind will still think about it, and you will feel, let’s try it one last time. Then I will quit. Your subconscious mind will convince your conscious mind to make you watch it again.

And as it gives you the sense of pleasure, your unconscious mind will try even more aggressively to seek it.

Seen the denial effects on someone who is on drugs daily and suddenly his supply cuts off?

Maybe his conscious mind has quitted drugs, and perhaps he has convinced his subconscious mind to restrict themselves to drugs, but the unconscious mind is still wanting them. It is not impossible to come out clean. It just takes a hard practice. The same is the case with any other addiction, including your Internet addictions.

It is not impossible to quit, but in most of the cases, we tend to live those moments and don’t want ourselves to stop.

Many of the times we even fail to realize we are addicted. That immediate short-term pleasure that satisfaction takes the control over our long-term goals.

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Last Words:

So, I hope I was able to give you the complete idea behind your addictions and the root of all your bad habits. You now know how you perceive things that provide you with pleasure, How you feel happy about it, and How your brain processes those events.

I guess even you don’t know how to control your addictions, you got a more in-depth idea of the psychology behind it and got motivated a bit.

In the next part, we will try to analyze our internet addictions and try to find out how to keep ourselves away from it. No, I am not talking about quitting the addictions altogether. Instead, I am talking about reducing them efficiently. I will discuss precisely where we are doing the things wrong, and how can we change ourselves and lead a better life. You can read it Here: How to Control Internet and Social Network Addiction? Part 2: The Analysis

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and make themselves aware of it. Use the social share buttons below.

Have any queries? Want to thank me? Don’t hesitate and comment below. I will try my best to assist you.

See you in the next part. Well, as of now I am still gathering content for my next part, and not sure when I will be able to publish it fully. I might post some other stuff in between. Stay tuned!

Nirmal Sarkar is an M.Tech Engineering Student from the city of Joy, Kolkata. He is the founder of this blog and covers a wide range of topics from Gadgets to Software to Latest Offers. He is also active on the Blogosphere community on Facebook. You can get in touch with him via [email protected]

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