Not Tonight Honey … I’m Blogging
by Audra Krell
Every morning, Samuel’s wife, Nicole, connects to the Internet and does nothing else until it’s time for work. After a long day at the office, she’s back online playing games. Nicole enters online game tournaments and has thousands of reward points from her hours spent on the computer. When she isn’t “gaming,” she’s blogging about her experiences and virtual chatting on various sites.
One evening Samuel glanced at the screen and noticed she was playing a game that facilitated two players. Thinking it would be great to join her for a few moments, Samuel asked if he could play. Nicole refused, saying Samuel would just beat her anyway.
Refusals like this have caused a rift in their relationship. They don’t talk and Nicole makes minimal contributions to their marriage. Samuel feels his wife acts like a “Zombie” and has no interest in anything but the computer.
Thus the proverbial “headache” is reinforced as women genuinely experience headaches from excessive time spent in front of their computer. For other women, social media is the latest excuse for avoiding intimacy in the bedroom and in every day relationships.
Electronic distractions are available 24/7 as we carry computers in pockets and purses, making us available to everyone, all the time. Everyone except those who matter the most.
Dedicated time for a spouse has been replaced with cyber relationships, networking and status updates. Online, people are playing games, shopping, reading books, listening to music and podcasts and even engaging in inappropriate relationships. Online relationships are appealing. Women can be anyone online: taller, thinner, smarter and wittier. They can be experts at many subjects, find people to commiserate with and receive comfort from those experiencing similar problems.
Maintaining an online persona can take several hours per day, and women are dedicating countless daytime and evening hours to relational pursuits. Online interactions often appear more “real” to some women than their relationships with immediate family.
Making friends online isn’t all bad. Women build real-life relationships, find jobs, buy or sell items and receive advice from industry professionals. Problems arise however, when computer time detracts from real life and quality relationships. Limiting time spent online and making reentry back to planet Earth can be done. Dr. David Hawkins, author of Breaking Everyday Addictions, offers six tips to people caught in Internet addiction:
- Listen to your family and be vulnerable and open to their feedback about the amount of time/energy you spend on the Internet.
- Develop an accountability partner to whom you will be responsible.
- Attend to the needs/concerns you’re experiencing in your life that makes the excitement of the Internet so appealing and satisfying.
- Develop barriers to Internet use — setting clear boundaries involving time and being accountable to your accountability partner.
- Develop periods of abstinence from the Internet. Just as you would “fast” from certain foods, try and fast from the Internet for three days every month.
- Agree that you will engage in no secretive behavior. Make your Internet use completely open to your mate and accountability partner.
Test Yourself: Are You Addicted?
According to Dr. Hawkins, you might have an Internet addiction problem if you answer “yes” to several of the following questions.
- I rarely, if ever, go a day without spending time online.
- I couldn’t give the Internet up if I tried.
- I have to budget for this carefully every month.
- Others have shared their concern about my involvement with social media and computer time.
- I’ve tried to cut back or quit without success.
- I’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms/anxiety when I tried to cut back on my computer time.
- I’ve watched my involvement with the Internet increase.
- I resist talking about my involvement with the Internet.
- I believe I might be in denial about the impact this has upon my life.
- I need more of the Internet to bring me pleasure.
- My involvement with this activity has negatively impacted other areas of my life, such as my marriage, health or spiritual life.
Audra Krell is a freelance writer (Audrakrell.com) who lives with her husband and three boys in Scottsdale, Arizona.