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We live in the age of screens. Many teenagers and kids are used to glancing at their cell phones every few minutes. This behavior can take on obsessive proportions and become an uncontrollable addiction.
Modern teenagers want to be “on” all the time. Some feel they are missing something if they don’t have access to the Internet for a while.
For a long time, they don’t realize that they are putting themselves under constant, enormous stress. Can you try just switching off for a while, or are you too dependent on the Internet to cope without it?
Tips For Kids
To make sure the Internet isn’t a danger to you in the long run, you should rethink how you use it. Safer surfing also includes having your own surfing behavior under control. You don’t know what Safer surfing means? It means responsible and safe use of the Internet. If you think about safer surfing, you won’t be a quick target for dangerous spying or bullying attacks. In addition, teenagers who practice safer surfing don’t immediately get in a bad mood if they don’t have access to the Internet.
You can read about how to manage not being “on” all the time in the following section.
Just Try It Out: The Self-Test
You are in a stressful time, have to study a lot and are somehow fed up with everything? Perfect! That’s the ideal starting point to give up your cell phone and (or) internet for a certain period of time.
Set yourself a deadline that you have to meet before you can reach for your cell phone again. Can you manage to go a whole day without a cell phone? Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to try this experiment. Not much happens on these days anyway, and you don’t necessarily have to be available. Of course, you should talk to your parents beforehand about the fact that you won’t be available on your cell phone. If you explain the reason to them, they will certainly understand.
To make sure that no one is going to get in your way or worry because you are not available, inform your friends about your plans. Tell them when you expect to be able to answer your cell phone again. But please don’t cheat yourself by constantly sitting in front of your PC and surfing Facebook during your experiment in order to endure the cell phone-free time.
At the beginning, you will feel strange. It’s like forgetting something important. Some kids feel unsafe in the company of other people when they don’t have their cell phones with them. That’s because they can’t play around with it that way; they have to talk to others and look them in the eye.
You may even feel uncomfortable leaving home without your cell phone. This is because you now don’t have unlimited access to the Internet as a source of information. If you get lost somewhere or can’t find your friends at the agreed meeting place, you’ll have to think of something else instead of reaching for your cell phone. Below you will find tips on how to get around without a cell phone and how to deal with unpleasant situations.
Of course, you can take your cell phone with you in case of an emergency. That way, you have a way out if things get too hairy for you. However, you should try to cope with difficult situations without your cell phone.
If you want, you can also regularly spend one evening a week without your cell phone and see how you feel.
You will see: After your experiment, you will be so used to the pleasant calm in your life that the cell phone will get on your nerves. You’ll be able to switch off your cell phone whenever you feel like it and be unavailable for a while. Always remember that 10 years ago people were not always reachable either. Some didn’t even have a landline. And yet they were able to live a normal life.
Combine The Pleasant With The Useful: The Cell Phone Tower
How about making a game out of doing without your cell phone for a while? The game “Handyturm” has become very popular and is at the same time a way to change your own habits when using your cell phone.
And it goes like this: Everyone switches their cell phone to silent and places it on the table. Stack the cell phones on top of each other to create a bump. Now gossip with each other and keep busy as usual. Have a good time without looking at your cell phone. If you can’t stick to it and reach for the cell phone, invite the others for a drink. Maybe you can even come up with your own variations of the game? Just try it out!
Alternatives To The Cell Phone
If you’re used to your cell phone, you’ll quickly get bored without Internet access. Yet there is so much else to discover. Kids and teenagers can use a variety of leisure activities to put an end to their boredom. For example:
Going on an ice cream together.
Playing sports (skating, ice skating, cycling, ball sports,…)
Playing board and card games.
Sitting in the garden and talking.
Have a picnic.
Go to the cinema.
Reading a book.
Going for a walk.
Visit exhibitions, concerts and museums.
Go to the library or video store.
Learn an instrument, paint a picture or write a poem.
Tinker, sew or repair something.
This is just a selection of the many possibilities open to you. I’m sure you can think of a few more things to do yourself as a young person in your city.
Pad And Pen Instead Of Apps
Some apps on your phone are really useful. Others you could do without. But the more apps you use, the more dependent you are on your phone.
Think about which applications you really need and which things can be solved differently.
For example, it helps to always have a small notebook and a pen with you. If you like, you can use a calendar with note pages – this saves you the calendar app.
The advantage of this solution is: it always works. If your phone is broken, you can still use it. Your paper calendar will not be deleted if your phone is broken. In addition, your cell phone battery will last much longer if you can do without this and that app.
Oldschool Navigation: Finding Your Way Without A Cell Phone
Everyone knows the problem: you’re out and about in the city, looking for a very specific store, and you just can’t find your way. Today, you reach for your cell phone and take advantage of Google’s great Maps app. There are also numerous apps that allow you to navigate without Internet access. This makes it very easy to find your way around a relatively foreign environment at the drop of a hat. This makes sense not only in everyday use, but especially on vacation.
Nevertheless, we should ask ourselves whether we are not overdoing it a bit. Because instead of simply asking a passerby for directions, we prefer to type awkwardly on our cell phones and even take much longer to get the information we need. In the process, you might even walk past a sign with a street map and not arrive where you wanted to go because the navigation system “misunderstood” you.
Next time you’re on the road, remember to ask someone for directions if you need them or look around for signs. Especially when driving, it helps to pay more attention to the signs instead of relying on the navigation system. This not only makes you a bit more independent, but also trains your sense of direction.
In some situations, you should be able to orient yourself based on the position of the sun or the stars. This is not witchcraft and belongs to the repertoire of every outdoor freak. In this way you can always make sure that you haven’t strayed from the right path. And you can do this even though your cell phone battery may have long since given up the ghost or you’re out and about in an area where you don’t have the slightest trace of Internet reception.
Reach Out To Others
When we stop looking at our cell phones, we suddenly become more aware of the world around us. You approach people to ask for directions, borrow a cell phone for an important call from a passerby, or go in search of the nearest phone booth.
Remember to walk through life with your eyes open and your mind alert, even in spite of your cell phone. If you’re not only busy with your cell phone, you’ll also become aware of sources of danger more quickly. Not only are you less distracted by traffic and its dangers when you’re not looking at your cell phone. Pickpockets also have a less easy game if you are not distracted by WhatsApp and Co. Use the waiting times on public transport to look around and become more aware of your surroundings. Then you’ll notice things that you’ve never noticed before. Maybe a poster for an event that interests you catches your eye. Or you notice that you are being stared at by a cute girl or a cute boy and give your first great love a chance.
Think about it and know that there’s more to the world than cell phones, PCs, and the Internet.
All About Internet Addiction
You can get addicted to just about anything Addicted by the way, means that you can’t get along without a thing, substance, or behavior. You need it all the time and develop a real compulsion. For example, you don’t want to smoke anymore, but you still puff one cigarette after another because you’ve become addicted to it.
Likewise, you can become addicted to surfing the Internet. You then have the feeling that you constantly have to check Facebook, e-mail and Whatsapp. But maybe Internet addiction also manifests itself in the fact that one has to gamble certain online games in order to feel good.
The most dangerous in this respect are social networks (Facebook, Twitter,…), browser games and multiplayer RPG games (MMORPG).
How You Can Recognize Internet Addiction
Internet-addicted kids are constantly hanging out on their PC, tablet or cell phone. They hardly meet up with their friends anymore and simply don’t feel like doing anything that has nothing to do with the Internet.
Because they spend so much time in front of the screen, they are irritable, tired and often have headaches. They neglect not only their own needs (eating, drinking, social contact), but also their relationships with friends, family and partners.
Internet addicts quickly feel attacked when it is pointed out to them that they spend a lot of time on the Internet and might have a problem.
This is because they are subconsciously suffering from loss of control. They secretly know that something is wrong. However, they don’t want to admit it because they feel great when they are on the Internet.
By loss of control, by the way, we mean the condition when you have tried to change your behavior several times, but have always failed. At some point, you resign yourself and give in to your addiction.
In addition, Internet addicts, just like people addicted to substances, always need more. In order to feel good, they have to spend longer and longer on the Internet. At the same time, they feel uncomfortable more and more quickly when they do anything else. At some point, it’s even so bad that they constantly feel the need to go back online when they’re not sitting in front of their PC, tablet or cell phone.
The addiction also affects performance at school or at work or training. People are late more often because they suffer from insomnia, they call in sick to play online games or surf the Internet, and they develop a certain indifference to everyday life. At some point, you don’t even care if you are threatened with dismissal or face serious consequences at school.
Like all addicts, Internet addicts suffer from withdrawal symptoms. For example, they may feel very nervous when they are away from the Internet for a longer period of time. They develop anxiety, become aggressive and restless when they don’t have access to the Internet.
Do you suspect that you might be an Internet addict yourself? Or could it be that one of your friends and acquaintances is behaving in the same way as described above? Then it’s time to do something about it.
What To Do About Internet Addiction?
Adults, kids and teenagers who are addicted to the Internet should take their problem to their family doctor. He can prescribe a mild remedy so that the sleep cycle returns to normal and you can sleep through the night.
Also, one can get a sedative to make it easier to refrain from constant internet surfing.
It may be individually better to abstain from the Internet completely for a while or to gradually spend less time on it. In joint consultation with a psychotherapist, it is best to find out how to tackle the addiction. Have your family doctor prescribe therapy at health insurance expense if you are addicted to the Internet!
Parents should also know about this. They usually notice anyway that you spend way too much time in front of the PC. They can be supportive and pick you up when you feel like you can’t do it.
Expect that such moments will come your way. Then you may think to yourself “Oh, who cares. What’s going to happen if I go on Facebook for a quick 5 minutes?”. And then the cycle starts all over again: you sit at your PC or cell phone, surf a bit, and minutes eventually turn into hours. Then you don’t feel like doing anything else and before you know it the whole day has gone by.
Stay tough and stick to your goals. Together with your friends and family, you can get back to normal behavior.
If You’re Going To Use The Internet, Use It Safely!
If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, you should not do without certain safety measures. Even if you are just trying to change your surfing behavior, you should deal with the issue of security.
Install a firewall, an anti-spyware program and a virus scanner on your PC. You may want to switch to a more secure operating system like Linux if you haven’t already. Also read our other articles on Internet security and Facebook.
Worksheet For The Text
1) Explain the difficult words from the text.
2) What tips did you remember about using your cell phone and the Internet? Turn to the person sitting next to you and tell them everything you can think of. Then take turns!
3) Do you know what to look out for to stay safe on the Internet? Create a mind map about safer surfing.