Whatever the classification, excessive computer use remains a problem for some people. If you view computer addiction as a "real" addiction similar to alcoholism, the best way to deal with the problem might be a 12-step program following the precepts of Alcoholics Anonymous. Your doctor, local mental health services or your local AA chapter could help you find an appropriate support group. There are online support groups, but results can be mixed -- some compare these to holding Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in a bar.
If you're looking to curb your computer use, here are some helpful tips:
- Make specific time limits. Set an alarm to go off in one hour and end computer time when it rings.
- Set aside "computer-free" parts of the day. If your computer use starts after dinner and extends into the night, get all your computer work done in the morning and don't touch it after dinner.
- Install software to restrict your access to Web sites that you visit compulsively. Find a friend you can trust to keep the passwords for the software so you can't circumvent it.
- Make a list of things you could be accomplishing instead of wasting time on the computer, and post it prominently near your monitor.
- Enlist family members to help encourage you to limit your use. It might be difficult to stop on your own.
- Put the computer in high-traffic area of the house. With others looking over your shoulder all the time, you'll be less likely to overuse the computer. This is especially effective for parents who fear excessive computer use in their children.
For more information about computer addiction, check out the links on the next page.