WAHMs spend so much time online that it's important to know about the signs and symptoms of Internet addiction. Many people think that being addicted to the Internet involves pornography or Facebook, but Web addiction can take many additional forms: online gambling, shopping, compulsive Internet searching and stock trading, for example. The stress of being a work-at-home mom can actually contribute to compulsive addictions like these. Here are four symptoms of Internet addiction to watch out for:
1. Losing Time
If you're constantly realizing that several hours have gone by in front of the computer and you haven't gotten anything productive done, you might have an addiction. Be honest and ask yourself what's eating up your time. If you were supposed to be getting tasks done for clients and instead you were earning "money" on FarmVille, it may be time to ask for help.
2. More Social Media, Less Social Life
There have been reports of people getting into car crashes because they were updating their Facebook status on their smart phone while they were driving. If Facebook, Twitter and online chat rooms are taking up more and more of your time, and you're spending less time at real life social engagements, you might have an Internet addiction. Assess the amount of time that you used to spend going to parties or out on dates with your husband, the amount of fun activities you did with your children and other social engagements. Compare that to the amount of time you're spending "socializing" online and see if things have flip-flopped.
3. Real Relationships Suffering
If your family is complaining that you spend less time with them than you used to, this can be another symptom of Internet addiction. If your spouse is bickering and feeling neglected, or you hear the phrase, "We never do anything fun anymore" from your children, it may be time to step back and analyze where your time is going. MySpace can be fulfilling in some ways, but the reality is that it's no replacement for being a wife or a mother.
4. Lying about Your Time Online
This is one of the more serious symptoms of Internet addiction. If your spouse or children ask why work is taking you so long these days, and you lie to them when you were really doing something other than work, you may have a problem. People are often ashamed to admit to their compulsive online behaviors, and they become willing to lie to loved ones to cover it up. If this sounds like your situation, it's probably time to seek help. Being tucked away in an office provides anonymity for your activities, but you should realize that the dishonesty makes it inexcusable.
These are just a few symptoms of Internet addiction to be aware of. Keep in mind that the time spent online isn't as important as the activities you're doing. If your activities are interfering with your relationships or work in the real world, it may be time to seek addiction help.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.