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06-01-2017

Back to life, back to reality

An addiction can be defined as “a physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol”. People also get addicted to behaviours like exercise, running, computer gaming, love (we’ve all been there), and work (a crime of which I am guilty). It is generally accepted that addiction is a bad thing. Whether it’s coffee or music, we’d rather be free.

One of the latest disorders on the scene is ‘social networking addiction’, a term that means spending too much time using Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media – so much so that it interferes with other aspects of daily life and robs you time that would probably be better spent walking the dog or cleaning the house.

As well as being a waste of time, social networking can be very stressful for some people. Yesterday my son told me a girl he knows spends hours snapping and tweaking flattering selfies, publishing them and, then, if within an hour, she has not been mobbed with ‘likes’, she deletes them and worries that people think she is ugly, far or whatever. What an enormous waste of energy!

Voluntarily publishing pictures of yourself is leaving yourself vulnerable to comments. I can only imagine how unbearably stressful the nasty comments that some people leave must be for teenagers and young people. Personally, I think I must have some nice Facebook friends because even if I post ghastly shots, people like them!

Unfortunately, the remarks that people make about when you are young and discovering who you are, stay with you forever. I remember when, aged about twelve, my mother remarked that, “I didn’t have slim ankles like hers”. She probably forgot about it straight away, but I spent the next twenty years trying to hide my ankles (and there is nothing wrong with my ankles, which are neither thick nor thin). Then at college, during a dance class, my friend told me, “I thought I had big thighs until I saw yours”, leading to a top to toe leg complex which I have never quite shaken off.

We need to be nice to each other. When you have an opportunity to say something nice, grab it.

But back to the crux of the matter… I was worried about signs of addition appearing in my social media behaviour, so I decided to do the Internet Addiction Test at http://netaddiction.com/internet-addiction-test/ to put my mind at rest. Although I fell into the ‘mild’ category, I’m still going to make a conscious effort to claim some of my time back. In fact, tomorrow I’m going swimming instead of spending an hour online, and that’s just the beginning….

Juliet Allaway

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