Social Networking: An Addiction?

Initially, the Internet started as a revolution for common people, then it became a status symbol, then came an era when the Internet became a necessity and, finally, it is now the time when the Internet is becoming an addiction, especially true when we talk about the social networking websites. Nowadays, people spend hours and hours on these kinds of websites. Its popularity has reached to an extent where all the people of almost every age or origin feel great to be a part of one social network or the other.

On websites like Facebook and MySpace, users can instantly see what their friends online are doing and can keep them updated on every move they take in their day-to-day activity. Most users know it’s not a substitute for face-to-face communication, but they say it’s the next best thing. Since different people have different opinions and views, most users say that they end up connecting with many more people than they otherwise would. However, some wonder if all that instant information has a downside.

According to MySpace, the pace is growing fast. As of now, one-fourth of the total American population uses their site with 300,000 new members every day. In India too, sites like Facebook, Orkut and Tagged are adding about 250,000 people every day.

Recent studies show that, people who use the Internet (especially accessing social networks) excessively can be placed in the ‘Internet Addicts’ category. And this number is growing at a very fast pace day by day. Excessive usage would mean here about 30-40 hours of usage a week! “It can really get addictive,” says a psychology student. “You start to want to stalk people. You kind of follow their every move. People, who normally wouldn’t be stalkers, might even find themselves kind of following people online.”

Here are 3 steps, which can surely lessen the addiction and, after sometime, get rid of it completely!

Do not overdo it: Limit yourself
Accessing social networking websites is not exception. Take your social network as a leisure activity only, not something you need to accomplish every day or every hour. Limit yourself by setting aside a particular time of day to use these services.

Say no to E-mail notifications
Most of the social networking websites send e-mail alerts to your e-mail address when someone posts a message or does any other activity on your web page. It’s good, because even without signing into social network you get to know who did what in your page. But getting lots of these e-mail alerts can tempt you to visit these sites more often. So it is best if you disable this feature.

Never allow yourself to network by phone

Today, almost every other social network gives you the option to access their application on your mobile phones. It’s easy to access and user friendly. But if you see the broader picture, you allow yourself to access these sites on your phone; you can get more habituated to using these sites. So, it is always better to keep your Internet (GPRS) services blocked from the operator, if you do not normally access the Internet on the phone.

Social networking is fun for sure! But don’t let it rule your head and give you some unwanted troubles. So, take your pick, and enjoy these services – at your own risk.

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