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Facebook Syndrome: 9 Ways to Beat Your Facebook Addiction

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Myspace… the list is endless. Millions of us are hooked. Our attention spans and interests are decreasing. Read on for some ways to change your habits.

How to tell if you are an internet addict                                                   

Before we start you need to find out if you are addicted to Facebook some signs include:

1. You are late for school because you are on Facebook
If you are ever late for school or a commitment because you were checking your updates on Facebook or Youtube then you know you are addicted. This is classic addict behavior.

2. You think about it when you are offline
Some people struggle to get to sleep because they are thinking about a game or wondering how their website statistics are looking. If you do this then it could be a sign of 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. 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 article.

4. You check your accounts from your mobile phone
A phone is a talking tool. It is supposed to allow you to text and make calls. It is not for checking Facebook updates while you are having dinner with a friend.

5. You get stressed when a Facebook “friend” doesn’t add you
Noticed yourself getting stressed over something that has happened on Facebook? Ever feel like your online life is more real than your offline life? Time to make a change. 

Ok – where to from here?  You’ve established that you have a problem you need to get yourself some recovery tools. The strategies below are some simple ways you can beat it.

1. Admit that you have a problem
I want you to take a deep breath and then repeat after me. Seriously, say it “I have an internet addiction problem.” Good. Now that you have acknowledged the problem, lets proceed.

2. Write down exactly how much time you spend on each site
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.  Write down your Facebook hours. Over time the hours should decrease.

3. Give yourself a set time of the day to visit   
Realise that spending time on these sites is not a bad thing. In moderation it can be a lot of fun and even healthy. However, if you start to notice that your school assignment is still not done because you have been watching a friend’s skit on Youtube, then it has gone too far. Banning yourself outright often leads to a relapse. We don’t want this. Give yourself reasonable set times to visit and don’t break the limits.

4. Turn off email notifications             
Email notifications are annoying reminders begging you to come back and visit Facebook. You don’t need to be notified every time someone sends you a message, so turn them off.

5. Leave your mobile at home or locked up somewhere!            
Having a phone on you at all times just tempts you to check your Facebook every 5 seconds! Shouldn’t you be attending to what’s going in right there and then?

6. 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. Over time the power of the thought will get smaller!

7. Get off the computer!
Do you need to spend that much time on the computer? Instead turning on the computer when you get home, go for a walk, see a movie. Turn your computer off at a certain time each night.

8. Write down what you used to do before Facebook
Write down a list of things that you used to do before you got addicted to Facebook. For example: “I used to meet people in person and play sport”!  Try and reconnect with what you used to do before Facebook. You will feel healthier and happier!

9. Block the sites the REAL way
You can block certain sites. Sure, you can unblock them as well, but the more barriers you put in your way the better. For Windows systems: 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 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.

For Macs follow the link: http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html

If what you have read has concerned you, please contact wellbeing, the IT team at Galen or speak with a health care professional. This article was adapted from www.thedailymind.com. For more great ideas, the IT reference group will be hosting a parent info night on managing social sites amongst other things on the 10th August  & 7th September 2011.

Therese Rodway