Hey everyone!

 I watched a great TEDx talk by Dr Kimberly Young and it inspired me to share what I learned from the video. In the past I have personally been frustrated with myself for spending too much time browsing Internet forums and places like Reddit when I should have been focused on my schoolwork. I was successfully able to reduce my Internet usage and if you are currently struggling with it, I hope you can too!

 What is problematic Internet use?

It has been described as an impulse control disorder similar to pathological gambling. Sometimes it involves one becoming addicted to online friends and fantasies through video games or virtual realities. It can also involve overuse of social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Other individuals who spend too much time online may spend endless hours researching topics of interest. Regardless, problematic Internet use comes down to replacing healthy, real-life human connections with the virtual world.

How do you know if you are using the Internet too much?

  • Your thoughts are preoccupied with your previous session or you are anticipating your next use
  • You are using the internet more and more in time in order to satisfy yourself
  • You have repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to reduce or cut out unhealthy internet use
  • You stay on the internet much longer than you intended
  • You use the internet to escape from problems like depression, anxiety or hopelessness
  • Your internet use is risking significant commitments like school, work, and relationships
  • You lie to close family and friends about the extent of your Internet use


What are the consequences of using the Internet too much?

Not unlike other addictions, using the internet too much can lead to significant personal, academic, financial, and career problems. Problematic Internet use can lead to individuals becoming isolated from society and spending more time in seclusion. Those who try to quit or reduce their usage may go through withdrawal symptoms such as: anger, depression, mood-swings, sadness, restlessness, and anxiety.

How can you get help?

As usual, the first step in getting help is to recognize that there is a problem. One way to do this is by checking yourself. Count how many times you check your email, Facebook, Instagram or other social media accounts in one day. It is not uncommon for some over users to check their Facebook/smartphone 30-50 times in one day!! It is probably unnecessary to check your social media that much and reducing this checking behavior will allow you to become more mindful and aware of the present moment.

If you feel that your Internet use is severely impeding your lifestyle then I encourage you to see a counsellor at UVic Counselling Services. However, if you believe your usage does not warrant that then you can try to improve on your own. The first thing you can do is set time limits using add ons such as Self Control (mac) or Cold Turkey (PC). I use the Self-Control app on my MacBook to block “trouble” sites for a particular period of time. Once that timer is on, there is nothing I can do to bypass it! The other apps I use to help me study and avoid the Internet include a Pomodoro timer and the Forest app (look these up!!)

The last suggestion is based on Dr. Kimberly Young; she recommends a 48-hour detox from your smartphone. That could mean plugging your phone in to charge on Friday after school and not touching it till Monday morning. She calls this “disconnect to reconnect” and this should allow you to be more present with your friends and family and you will feel more energized!

If you have a problem using the Internet too much, I sincerely hope you can overcome this and reduce your usage. Having spent way too much time on Reddit and Netflix in the past, I know that you can successfully cut back your online time! Try the tips and apps above to see if you can improve! Let me know if you make progress!

All the best,






The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.