Team-BHP > Around the Corner > Shifting gears


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th September 2019, 08:43   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 280
Thanked: 779 Times
Default Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

I have been struggling with digital addiction for years now.

I remember creating my first Facebook account in 2009, when I was just 10 years old. It started with logging onto the site a few times a day to check up on my friends. It provided some sort of satisfaction to watch my Facebook profile slowly take a shape that reflected my personality, and to see that 'friend' count grow. Facebook was in vogue back then. Every single person was using it. Even if you met your friends in school, you would make plans to go home and catch up on Facebook later in the evening. It was the beginning.

By 2011, Facebook had developed into a full-grown addiction for me. I absolutely had to turn on my computer and log onto Facebook once a day, in the evening. My parents shifted my computer to my sister's room, yet I would sneak in and somehow manage to get my fix. At night, I would sneak into my parents' room, crawl to the bedside table, and take off with my mother's cellphone. I would then spend the rest of the night on Facebook. It's not like I used to chat with my friends; I just scrolled through pages of my news feed, looking at stuff. I had over 2000 'friends' by that point, so my news feed was pretty extensive. I used to fell sleepy by 2am, but I couldn't fall asleep instantly. I had to crawl back into my parents' room, keep the phone back in its original place and return to my room. I had to wake up at 5am to go to school, so I was only surviving on 3 hours of sleep per night at that time. However, I couldn't be more concerned. My grades didn't drop, and I was doing well at school. All was well in the world.

This toxic behaviour continued till November 2016. It was the end of high school, and a culmination of factors made me believe that it's time I go off the internet for some time. For 5 months after that, I cut down my internet usage completely, and I only used email to communicate with my friends. A couple of my best friends and I started a Hangouts circle to study together before our class 12 boards, and I used it to talk to them. However, as soon as my boards got over in April 2017, I downloaded everything onto my phone again. I revived that abandoned Snapchat account, reactivated that Instagram account and created new accounts on sites like Reddit. I was experiencing freedom, but I had one thing clear: I won't go back on Facebook. Back in November 2016, I had deactivated my Facebook account. I detested Facebook, didn't want to use it, but didn't have the heart to permanently delete my account either. "What if I need it?" or "What if someone needed to get in touch with me?" was always at the back of my mind. I didn't want to throw away my popularity in my social circles that easily.

I started college in mid-2017. Throughout my first semester of college, I used to get back on Facebook intermittently. The pattern was same: log onto Facebook, scroll for a few minutes, detest my decision and beat myself up, deactivate account. Due to the fact that I had more or less pushed Facebook out of my life, I had a new digital addiction: Instagram. I got extremely irritated with myself, and took a bold step on the 23rd of December, 2017: I permanently deleted all my accounts on social media. That 8 year old Facebook profile, that Instagram account with a thousand followers, that Snapchat profile with a score of 10,000, all vanished in a second.

I went one step further and gave up my smartphone. I took out an old BlackBerry and started using it for making calls and sending emails. Life was finally better. Over the next year or so, I slowly switched back to a smartphone and created new Instagram and WhatsApp accounts. "What harm could a little bit of internet usage do?", I thought. Oh well.

On 6th September 2019, I realized that I was following the same pattern. I barely studied, and spent quite a lot of my time on my phone. I pulled up the 'Digital Wellbeing' app on my phone (comes inbuilt in phones running stock Android 9 onwards), and this is what I saw:
Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction-6th-sept.png

Some of you might be thinking that it's fine. Two and a half hours of phone usage in a 24 hour day is surely fine, isn't it? However, I decided to check the statistics of the previous day, and this is what I saw:
Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction-5th-sept.png

I decided to go back a few days, and the data from 23rd August 2019 takes the cake:
Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction-23rd-aug.png

I had fallen into the dark abyss, once again.
boniver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 08:44   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 280
Thanked: 779 Times
Default Steps to free yourself: Do it today!

Back in late 2017 when I had cut myself off from the internet, I had spent days researching on the subject of digital addiction. I came across multiple surveys and everyone on the internet admitted that they have a problem with their usage, but no one wanted to take constructive measures to correct it.

I will not go into the intricacies of how excessive internet usage harms us and affects our brain. There are numerous articles on the subject all over the internet and a simple Google search will provide more information that I can on this thread.

However, I'm here to provide a gentle reminder to all my fellow BHPians, and make them realise that they're slowly being completely consumed by their cellphones, and the digital world. Of course, there are exceptions, but I'm sure 90% people on this forum use the internet unnecessarily, and definitely way more than they actually need to.

Here are my observations, and 5 steps that I believe can help you cut down your digital consumption:
1. Don't check your phone while in class/at work, while eating, and in the washroom. These three times, I believe, are when people use their cellphones the most.
2. If you don't drive to work, consider using your commute time listening to meaningful podcasts on topics that interest you. Better still, catch up on some sleep, since I'm confident that we all need more of it.
3. Keep your phone away from your bed when you're going to sleep, and away from yourself when you're working/studying. Out of sight, out of mind.
4. Turn off notifications from apps that you don't need. Those notifications on our lock screens force us to unlock our phones and use the app. Once you're done with the app, you go back to your home screen and open another app. It's a vicious cycle.
5. If you're severely addicted (like I am), consider not using your phone for a couple of weeks. Get a small cellphone from the yesteryears and use that for calling/texting. At the end of the day, check your smartphone for a total of 10 minutes, to catch up on updates. Done checking? Switch it off, keep it away and take it out again at the end of the next day.

I went one step further and got my WiFi disconnected. However, I found some way or the other to get back onto the internet. Therefore, unless you truly want to get better, you won't. You'll keep finding some loophole or the other and fall back to your old habits. Therefore, before you start on the journey of reclaiming your life, pause for a minute and think about it. Think about all the time you're wasting on things that don't deserve your time, and how you could benefit if you used that time doing something productive. For us students, that 'something productive' is working towards the furtherance and betterment of our careers.

I have been thinking about writing this down for a long, long time. However, now that I've recently realized that I'm slipping into old habits again, I wanted something to remind myself about the crippling addiction I had, and how I managed to get myself out of it. I don't want to fall back into it now that I'm at such a critical juncture of my life. I have a very important exam in exactly 50 days, and I hope to keep my digital addiction at bay and focus on what's important: my future.

If you're someone who's struggling with digital addiction too, I hope this thread helps you. I'm starting on my nosurf journey today, and I'd love it if you can join me. If you need some time to think about it and you're missing the train today, don't worry, you can join me whenever you want. Just make sure it's sooner rather than later, will you?

Don't sit on the fence though, it's the worst. If you're thinking about doing it, do it today. Quit cold turkey, and you'll thank yourself for it. Mark your attendance on this thread so that others can get inspired by you!

Cheers, and have a great Wednesday, guys!

PS: For those of you who like longform articles, here's one that I really liked and have read several times till date: The $11 BlackBerry that Changed my Life
PPS: I don't have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Reddit in my life anymore. What's this new addiction then, you ask? It's the very forum you're reading this article on. That's why my Google Chrome usage is the highest among all other apps.

Last edited by boniver : 11th September 2019 at 08:46.
boniver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 08:59   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
aargee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KATSTN
Posts: 4,863
Thanked: 2,723 Times
Default re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

So, what is your question or suggestion here? Are you looking for folks with similar pattern or want to get out of the addiction?

Either case, I think you're in much better position than a 12th grade student (last year) who's a Son of my Mother's friend.

He flunked 12th grade twice in a row. Just because of his addiction towards mobile phone. We don't know the entire story, what we've been told is, he got his computer at 8th grade, mobile at 10th grade & ever since then, he would lock himself up in a room & wouldn't come out even for food unless being persistent. These were at later stages when his Mother took VRS at work to take care of him, which was too late by then.

Initial days, he was attended by a care taker, when he used to come from school & stay in his room & everything would be served to his room & most times remained untouched until his Mother comes at 7/8 Pm.

When he barely passed his 10th is when things started to gain attention.

Next 2 (actually 4) years, his attitude changed, became very violent, would sleep at 4:00 Am & wake by 11 or 12 morning, grew plump from being lean, he even threatened (threatened or attempted, God knows) to commit suicide at Parent's attempt of stealing (yes you heard it right) his mobile phone for good. Any attempt to move towards Doctor's (psychiatrist or psychologists??) office will always result in a mini Kurukshetra war & all of them giving silent treatment for next 2-3 days.

For now, his symptoms are still untreated is what I hear
aargee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 09:11   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 280
Thanked: 779 Times
Default Re: Steps to free yourself: Do it today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
So, what is your question or suggestion here? Are you looking for folks with similar pattern or want to get out of the addiction?
Hey, I'm just here to extend my help to others who are in a similar situation.
Quoting myself:
Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
If you're someone who's struggling with digital addiction too, I hope this thread helps you. I'm starting on my nosurf journey today, and I'd love it if you can join me. If you need some time to think about it and you're missing the train today, don't worry, you can join me whenever you want. Just make sure it's sooner rather than later, will you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Either case, I think you're in much better position than a 12th grade student (last year) who's a Son of my Mother's friend.

He flunked 12th grade twice in a row. Just because of his addiction towards mobile phone. We don't know the entire story, what we've been told is, he got his computer at 8th grade, mobile at 10th grade & ever since then, he would lock himself up in a room & wouldn't come out even for food unless being persistent. These were at later stages when his Mother took VRS at work to take care of him, which was too late by then.

Initial days, he was attended by a care taker, when he used to come from school & stay in his room & everything would be served to his room & most times remained untouched until his Mother comes at 7/8 Pm.

When he barely passed his 10th is when things started to gain attention.

Next 2 (actually 4) years, his attitude changed, became very violent, would sleep at 4:00 Am & wake by 11 or 12 morning, grew plump from being lean, he even threatened (threatened or attempted, God knows) to commit suicide at Parent's attempt of stealing (yes you heard it right) his mobile phone for good. Any attempt to move towards Doctor's (psychiatrist or psychologists??) office will always result in a mini Kurukshetra war & all of them giving silent treatment for next 2-3 days.

For now, his symptoms are still untreated is what I hear
This is really sad. I can understand how and why the young lad let things get so bad. Digital addiction is real, and we must take steps to ensure that we don't let it ruin us.

I hope he gets better though.
boniver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 09:32   #5
BHPian
 
FrodoOfTheShire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bhubaneswar
Posts: 433
Thanked: 1,185 Times
Default Re: Steps to free yourself: Do it today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
Here are my observations, and 5 steps that I believe can help you cut down your digital consumption
Thanks for the post! But I feel based on your experience, the title of the thread should've been "Social media addiction". Whole world is moving towards digital and its a great tool to have, how we use it depends on us. So there's no escaping the digital world.

Social media addiction as you've gone through is much more rampant. There are cases where social media platforms are used for business/information purposes which is fine. Other than that, most people just use social media to "show off". I have no interest in who is "feeling" what, "watching" what, "eating" what or "checked in" where. Neither do I share those information myself. My Facebook usage is only limited to an EcoSport owner's group since I own the car, rest all my "friends" are unfollowed. I am also in a couple of photography groups in Facebook since I am developing that as a hobby. Similarly in Instagram I follow photographers whose work I admire, I don't follow any of my family/friends/colleagues. My close friends are always available on WhatsApp, so I don't feel the need to interact with them on social media.
FrodoOfTheShire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 09:42   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 280
Thanked: 779 Times
Default Re: Steps to free yourself: Do it today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
Thanks for the post! But I feel based on your experience, the title of the thread should've been "Social media addiction".
I did think about this, but I feel I'm addicted to the digital world rather than social media. For eg. Google isn't social media, but if I find an interesting article on Google I will ignore everything else and spend my time reading it. Same goes for Team-BHP as well. Not social media, yet I spend all day reading about cars. Not a bad thing that way, but it's definitely bad since I ignore what I'm supposed to do and spend all my time here instead.

Talking about "a great tool to have", social media too is a great tool to have. The problem is with our usage.

Last edited by boniver : 11th September 2019 at 09:43.
boniver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 10:58   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
dark.knight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Beans Town
Posts: 1,471
Thanked: 4,588 Times
Default re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

They say "an idle mind is a devil's workshop", true enough but what they actually mean to say is that a human mind was never meant to be idle, it either constructs creatively, or destructs creatively.

There is only one way to freedom from negative addiction or over-addiction, having another addiction/activity to do.

I've seen addicts from all walks of life, be it work-addict, smoking, drinking, illegal drugs, speed-addicts (the worst kind as it endangers others) and of course, digital/tech addiction. I never was an addict in anything, hope it keeps up as we simply cannot tell where we get hooked onto dangerously.

In the dawn of social media, I was an addict too, but the positives aside of keeping in touch with people, meeting new people etc, I saw the negatives, it involved too much pomposity and flaunting and it irritated me to no end due to my simplistic nature and I left it a decade ago, no social networking since. YouTube on the other hand, simply changed how I viewed entertainment, from inspirational speeches to plain ol dumb time-pass content, television viewing of mine took a big hit and I actually spend less time in total watching a blue-lit screen (very dangerous btw, messes up your circadian rhythm).

I began other hobbies, like re-starting playing basketball and it actually helps maintain my body and improve the joints and reflexes without paying for expensive gyms, once a week I do gardening and its tiring work and once a month I clean the car thoroughly inside out myself without paying for expensive treatments. Physical work releases endorphins and dopamine which keeps the body and mind happy. Social media and tech addiction also results in endorphins but in this case you get stuck onto the same cycle of checking, re-checking and posting stuff which numbs the brain into wanting more thrills and highs and your happiness actually gets masked because your brain is completely re-programmed into a world which is hollow, soulless and a deception.

Case in point - people who get into group selfies sitting in a pizzaria and instead of enjoying the real food and real company they spend time ticking away on their IPhonies uploading their every breathing moment into that hollow, soulless void. MY GOD if ever there would a zombie apocalypse, take people's phone away and watch them latch onto other people to gnaw their head out like in movies.
dark.knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 11:40   #8
BHPian
 
gautamkhadse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: pune
Posts: 302
Thanked: 209 Times
Default re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

Interesting topic and Imyself have been trying ways to get off of the cell phone . It takes a while but slowly you get there if you're determined enough .

I followed , what listed in this article .
https://www.ped30.com/2018/01/13/apple-iphone-gray/
Turning your phone display from color to B & W has a strong effect . You no longer feel attracted to keep looking at it .
gautamkhadse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 11:41   #9
BHPian
 
FrodoOfTheShire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bhubaneswar
Posts: 433
Thanked: 1,185 Times
Default Re: Steps to free yourself: Do it today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
I would then spend the rest of the night on Facebook.

I had to wake up at 5am to go to school, so I was only surviving on 3 hours of sleep per night at that time. However, I couldn't be more concerned. My grades didn't drop, and I was doing well at school. All was well in the world.

That 8 year old Facebook profile, that Instagram account with a thousand followers, that Snapchat profile with a score of 10,000, all vanished in a second.

I went one step further and gave up my smartphone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
Back in late 2017 when I had cut myself off from the internet,

I went one step further and got my WiFi disconnected. However, I found some way or the other to get back onto the internet.

For us students, that 'something productive' is working towards the furtherance and betterment of our careers.

I have a very important exam in exactly 50 days, and I hope to keep my digital addiction at bay and focus on what's important: my future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
I did think about this, but I feel I'm addicted to the digital world rather than social media.

Talking about "a great tool to have", social media too is a great tool to have. The problem is with our usage.


I get what you're talking about. For the sake of discussion, let me delve deeper.

After reading your write-up twice, I see there are 3 things that you've highlighted - Internet usage, social media and smartphones. Although these 3 things are separate in and of itself, but in today's digital age these are interconnected. We used desktops earlier, then came the internet, then social media, and now both internet and social media apps are on the smartphones.

Even if we reduce the usage of smartphones, many of us are in jobs that requires us to use desktop/laptop with internet connectivity as a must. So there's no escape from internet, infact its a necessity to get the work done. But if we use that internet to spend time on social media or reading up anything that fancies us (including Team BHP) instead of completing the office task, then its a problem. Nowadays many companies extend "work from home" facility to their employees having official laptops, in which case there's no chance of disconnecting the WiFi connection!

Most importantly, your write-up seems more apt for students who can get easily distracted from their studies. In your case it's the internet, in my case it was the TV. I remember my ICSE 10th exams in 2003 during the ICC cricket world cup, when India was playing really well. My parents had disconnected the TV when I had started the 10th school year!

As you said, someone commuting daily in a public transport or institution/organisation bus can use that time to listen to informative podcasts, that requires smartphone and internet connection. Students wanting to further their careers or even job holders wanting to improve their careers can use the online courses on the internet to their benefit.

Hence I see the internet, social media and smartphone as tools which can be used properly to one's benefit or can be misused. Just like someone having a car/bike can use it for simple commute, can be used for adventurous off-roading and also for dangerous street racing! All depends on the person and the usage.

Having typed all that on my smartphone, I should better get back to work! And all the best for your exams!
FrodoOfTheShire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 08:43   #10
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 54,261
Thanked: 135,231 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

Thanks for starting this thread!

Definitely a real problem for many, especially the young who are newly introduced to the internet + gadgets. It's an endless world out there. I'm just glad that we didn't have such an overload when we were young. Our entertainment was purely hanging out with friends, sports & comic books.

Personally, I've never been addicted. I guess not being too keen on social media or video games helps. That said, I spend a lot more time staring at a computer screen than I would like, due to the nature of work (and am sure it's the same for you). My rule = Log off from computer at 1800 hours. Evenings are purely for leisure + family.

Though smartphones are mini-computers today and I have some apps for utility (e.g. Uber, Zomato), my phone is still primarily used as a phone only (i.e. for talking & messaging). WhatsApp can be a major distraction. I've set the audible notifications off, and am not part of any group that has forwards.
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 09:42   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Ahmedabad
Posts: 74
Thanked: 54 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

boniver,
kudos to you for having the courage to openly talk about something like this. Digital/social media addiction has become very common today; unfortunately many are unwilling to accept or talk about it. The fact that you are openly talking about it means that you have accepted the problem and are working on it. With patience, you will be able to overcome it completely.

In my opinion, it is good to openly talk about such topics - it will help others come out and participate actively, knowing that they are not the only ones addicted to social media. As a society, we need to support one another, and help each other through our joys and sorrows.

P.S - I grew up before social media became 'all evasive'; I was just plain lucky. If I were born a few years later, maybe it could have happened to me too
anandpkumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 09:45   #12
BHPian
 
Sk8r's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Chennai
Posts: 91
Thanked: 206 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

Quote:
Turning your phone display from color to B & W has a strong effect . You no longer feel attracted to keep looking at it .
Wow, this sounds like a plan, will try it on for a while and check

Uninstalling and deactivating whatsapp and facebook has helped considerably as well
Sk8r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 10:01   #13
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: India
Posts: 100
Thanked: 101 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

Thank you for sharing boniver. Digital addiction is a real problem which is faced by many people irrespective of their age. A couple of years back, I realised I was wasting a lot of time on Facebook. I deleted my profile and uninstalled the App as well. Just in a couple of days I realised that it didn't make any difference in my life by deleting the FB profile. I have started reading in the free time created.

Last edited by adi.mariner : 12th September 2019 at 10:02.
adi.mariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 10:29   #14
VVN
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 45
Thanked: 55 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

My average screentime used to be around 6-7 hours. I realised that most of it was taken up by Instagram and Whatsapp. Decided to quit Instagram and added Whatsapp in the 'For emergencies only' list. Apples inbuilt screentime monitoring also helped. I am down to 2.3 hours daily average and I intend to lower it further. Not promoting any brand here but the smartwatch has also helped me curb my screentime quite a bit during the day. I no longer feel the need to read each and every notification that comes in.

The initial days of disconnect are really hard and your mind tends to feel uneasy with nothing to check or read online. Self care and reading is also something I am investing a lot of my time in. If I do have some spare time left after all the activities, I simply go for a short drive or fiddle with the car in the name of 'enhancements or small improvements'
VVN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2019, 10:31   #15
BHPian
 
bharatbits's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 292
Thanked: 162 Times
Default Re: Help yourself: Freedom from digital addiction

Absolutely agree. I also want to get rid of this addiction.

Is there any app that lets me control how much time I use FB, WhatsApp in a day. It should give me a option for each app where I can set the time say 10 minutes to FB and 15 minutes to WhatsApp. Once I exceed that limit the app should not open further for the day.

Pointers please.

OT: Looks like people will be willing to pay FB or WhatsApp to not let them use their free to use app. That's how addicted these companies have got their users to.

Thank God the insta bug didn't hit me. Installed it a couple of times but didn't find much use or interesting. Removed.

Last edited by bharatbits : 12th September 2019 at 10:37.
bharatbits is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Addiction to Trance Dr.Abhi Shifting gears 71 6th April 2014 14:32
Quick trip : (Himalayan Addiction) Mashobra, Naldehra, Tattapani & Saror (Shiv gufa) v&v Travelogues 19 27th May 2012 17:02
Team-bhp: An Incurable addiction for now RufRoc Introduce yourself 4 8th November 2007 09:18
automobile is an addiction h.k Introduce yourself 10 23rd March 2006 00:10
George Bush declares war on oil addiction amit Shifting gears 6 3rd February 2006 17:05


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 14:02.

Copyright 2000 - 2019, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks