We use the internet all day, most of the time without any real purpose. We just whip out our smartphones and start mindlessly browsing on websites and social media. Does this mean you have an internet addiction? Here are a few signs of internet addiction that you should know about.

You Choose the Internet Over In-Person Interactions


If you're spending more time online browsing Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, or any other website than you are spending with friends and family, you may have a problem. Often, even when people are surrounded by friends and family, they'll still choose to be on the internet instead of interacting. If you feel more comfortable chatting with a friend over social media than you do in person, you may have an internet addiction problem that's taking a toll on your social behavior.

You Start Neglecting Yourself


We only have so much free time each day, especially when we're in school or working full-time. If you spend all of your free time on the internet instead of on yourself, you may be addicted to the internet. It's okay to catch up on social media, but if you neglect your responsibilities and stop taking care of yourself because you're caught up in the digital world, it's become a problem. You'll start losing time and wondering how you spent hours each day because you were mindlessly surfing the web instead of doing something productive for yourself.

You Use the Internet to Change Your Mood


If you get a rush of dopamine when you open up Instagram to see new likes and follow requests, your mood has become entangled with the internet. If you're having a bad day and think that using social media is going to alter your attitude, you have become dependent on the internet. Most importantly, if not using the internet causes you to feel negative emotions such as depression or anxiety, you have an internet addiction problem.

You Think About the Internet When You're Offline


If you are regularly thinking about the internet or feel a constant urge to take out your phone and start browsing, you've become addicted. The internet should not be consuming your thoughts while you are offline at work or school. The internet should be used purposefully and not to fill a void you may have in your life. If you feel urges to plug in even when you don't need to, you've developed an addiction to the internet.

Internet addiction may not seem like a severe problem because it has become such a significant part of our lives. However, being addicted to the internet can affect your life in many negative ways and even lead to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you think you're addicted to the internet, start trying to log out for a certain amount of time each day, and slowly build yourself back up to where you no longer rely on the internet to fill a void in your life.