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Addictive Behaviours Discuss and receive support for addictions not related to substance use, such as gambling, Internet, sex or work addictions, in this forum.

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armitage Offline
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Unhappy Internet Addiction (sorry, long post) - March 4th 2017, 01:24 PM

This all started about 2.5 years ago. I got a laptop for school so for the first time, I had full on access to the Internet. No parental restrictions, no nothing. Just me and the World Wide Web. So naturally, I had to start peeking around. It was mostly harmless stuff, going on Amazon and searching up Doctor Who merch/desktop wallpapers, but then I started getting into shows that I liked, such as Merlin and Supernatural. My attachment to the characters and story led to me wanting more of certain canon couples (or not canon) and I stumbled upon fanfic. I had a feeling that it wasn't something my mom would like me doing and only read fanfic when she wasn't around. Which is where my secretiveness and dishonesty issue stems from, but that's a whole nother thread

Anyway, after a while it turned into staying up for all hours of the night hiding away in the bathroom reading fanfiction and discovering new things. It was the only thing on my mind and my constant desire to involve myself in fandom things trumped my desire to get good grades, so I started missing assignments and such, but I didn't care enough to push fanfiction to the side. Once my mom found out, she put blocks on Tumblr, AO3, etc so I couldn't access it, but eventually she took them off when my grades got back up and she felt like she could trust me. The bad thing is, I always felt like I brought my grades back up so I could use those sites again...

From then to now, it was the same pattern, progressively getting worse. When my grades would slip, they slipped bad. I'd hide the bad grades and procrastinate doing many late assignments before my parents found out because I wanted to get that fanfic I was writing done, or make that post on Tumblr or Reddit. I'd never study, never participate in class. Every day I'd tell myself, "I'll stop. Today's the day I leave this behind for good and get my shit together." But it never came. Then there was Google+ for the past year and 8 months, but again, that's another story which led to probably the worst day of my shitty life :^)

Now today, I think I'm ready. I realized how much I've fucked up but I can't change. I don't know how to change. I'm about to be a senior in high school so I can't let my grades suffer anymore. I want to go to college but I can't bring myself to care about what I wanna do when I graduate more than I care about Patrick Stump's side projects or the latest trend in the Kylux fandom! I'm bordering on not being eligible for scholarships because of this and it's caused me to become a secretive person but I just can't s t o p. Please, please help me...

TL;DR Fandom has caused me to become addicted to the Internet and as a result my grades are slipping and I need to know how to stop.
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Celyn Offline
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Re: Internet Addiction (sorry, long post) - March 6th 2017, 03:16 PM

Hey there,

Welcome to TeenHelp! No need to apologise for the length of your post as the more detail you provide, the more we can try to help you!

Like most things in life, even good things can become harmful when you have too much of them. The key is moderation. You don't have to fully stop what you are doing, but at the same time, you can't carry on as you are either; you need to find a balance.

There's nothing wrong with being interested in shows, characters, and fanfics. I understand that it can be a very engaging experience to want to know more about characters and storylines, and it's understandable that you may find the hours flying by as you read and watch things. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that. The harm comes from when you choose these things over sleep, school work and other important areas of your life, as they will decline.

It seemed helpful for your mom to put blocks on things, as you couldn't access them and then spent more time on work instead, which improved your grades. But it seems like it didn't have quiet the desired affect as you felt you only improved your grades, just to have the reward (being allowed back on those sites again). And the cycle continues. The trap only continues when you tell yourself that today will be the day that you stop and get work done instead of fanfics as today becomes tomorrow etc and then you may feel bad about yourself as things seem to spiral out of control. I'm wondering if you would like to talk about what happened with Google+ ? You don't have to, if you don't want to, but if there's anything else we can try to help you with, don't be afraid to post it.

Change takes time. Rather than stopping your habit completely, it may help to total up the number of hours you spend online reading and writing fanfics and other related things and slowly cut down an hour or so every day or week, until you are able to balance work and your interests. It may also help to think about the times when you are most likely to work or most likely to get distracted e.g. should you work before or after reading fanfic? If possible, try to get your mom on board with this plan as she can check up on you to see whether you are sticking with your new rules or not. It's also good to try to be more open with your mom too, since being secretive doesn't gain anything as only you know how much effort you are putting into work or not. You can also try (or get your mom to do it) using website blocks for when you need to study so that for a certain amount of time, you can't get distracted.

Another interesting thing about addictions is that they may come when we may have a void or something lacking in our lives, or if you're trying to cope with things by using an addiction as a way of avoiding the issue. I'm wondering how satisfied you feel with your life overall? Are there other things you may be missing out on such as a social life? Perhaps when you try to spend less time online, you can look into other things you can do in your spare time as well?

Have your teachers noticed the drop in your grades? It may be worth talking to them and let them know that you are having trouble trying to study as you get distracted by things on the internet. It may also be worth talking to a counsellor too as they can help you try to understand your addiction and how to help you break the cycle.

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