Today was indeed not a normal day for me. I don’t usually wake up early for a discussion. Especially if its at 5:00 o’clock in the morning.
But because Melanie Heng of ABS-CBN ( a tv network in the Philippines) asked for an interview in their morning show Bagong Umaga, bagong Balita, I did go to the studio.
The discussion was about online addiction, internet addiction, addiction to social media sites, online games and other forms of digital distractions that id borne about by the internet.
There are instances when kids and the youth are so into social media sites and online games that their behaviour dramatically change over time.
Vanj Padilla as interviewee at ABS CBN’s Bagong Umaga, Bagong Balita with Host Melanie Heng
They become passive for physical social interaction but aggressive, more violent and less respectful for other people’s rights and immediate environment. They become overly obsessed with their online personas and think that the universe revolves around their superpower to publish or play games.
The people who are into this addiction are living more into their virtual community rather than their physical world. Minds and bodies fully focused at the screen.
Some parents come to me and complain that their kids are not listening to them anymore because they choose to shut down with their gadgets and enter the online world.
So here is my two cents on this issue:
1. Decide to stop or at least gradually stop, at a given period of time. You cannot do what you cannot decide. SO decide first and be firm that you will actually do it, even without someone to chaco upon you.
2. Create a support group. You cannot do it alone. You need the comfort of the family, you need the support from your friends, you need encouragement from your peers and community.
3. Do a digital detox. Get away from computers or any gadget so far that fights your urge to stop. Stay away as possible to any screen that tempts you to go back and continue. Busy yourself with other things like learning how to cook, gardening, playing with others, hanging out with people that don’t prioritise and bring out their gadgets in your face.
4. Make friends physically. Connect with people and start a conversation. Tell them your situation and who knows you might be an encouragement and inspiration to other people. Laughter is the best medicine and the best laughter are the uninhabited roaring laughters with real people and not with emoticons or the controversial LOL.
5. Find activities that fuel your passion. Volunteer with the housework, do some gardening stuff. Make something out of recyclables or pre owned stuff. You can join a community and share what you know, teach other kids, tell them stories, start a business, look for some good stuff inside you so you won’t get bored.
Selfie before checking in the studio
6. Control your urges.If you feel the need to go online, think other thoughts. You can’t easily stop it in just a few days. There will always be a struggle. But hey, you have to resist. Control. Manage. And tame it. Any form of addiction is not good. And it needs to be moderated.
7. Pray. Pray for your loved ones who are battling this difficult situation, fighting online addiction. And give support. Talk to them level-headedly. In a calm manner. In a language they will understand.
So here are my suggested hacks and solutions to online and social media sites addiction. What do you think have I not included?
Will appreciate your comments below.