Tools and Skills

5 Tools for Beating Internet Addiction

Yes, it's a bit literal.

5 tools for beating your internet addiction

It’s fair to say that many of us spend far too much time online.

In fact the internet’s pull is so strong, some researchers believe that a decline in teen drug use is attributable to the rise of smartphones.

But that doesn’t mean it’s always the healthy choice.

So what can those of us with an unbreakable grip on the internet do? We’ve got five great recommendations.

Break the Ludic Loop

Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at NYU and author of the book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked describes our phones and laptops as miniature slot machines, designed to keep us hooked with the constant promise of fleeting rewards.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

“The ‘ludic loop’ is this idea that when you’re engaged in an addictive experience,” he writes, “like playing slot machines, you get into this lulled state of tranquility where you just keep doing the thing over and over again. It just becomes the comfortable state for you. You don’t stop until you’re shaken out of that state by something.”

Thankfully Alter has also provided us with five steps to help break the cycle.



The modern information worker typically requires internet access to get work done – so it’s often impossible to completely wean oneself from the network. But practices such as five.sentenc.es can help – it’s “a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less.” The site handily provides an explanatory signature script, as well as links to four.sentenc.es, three.sentenc.es, and two.sentenc.es, for the especially pithy.

Camp Grounded

Sometimes a return to nature, as well as some less-than-gentle prodding, is all it takes to get us offline. That’s the premise behind Camp Grounded, a retreat in Mendocino, California that demands attendees “Trade in your computer, cell phone, email, digital cameras, clocks, schedules, work-jargon, networking events and conferences for four days of pure, unadulterated off-the-grid camp fun.”

Camp Grounded

The experience was profiled by Uncubed pal Matt Haber for The New York Times – if you’re curious, the company behind Camp Grounded, Digital Detox also offers three-day retreats around the country.

Digital Detox Apps

Yes, there’s a certain irony in using technology to help yourself digitally detox, but whatever works… right? We’ve got a rundown of 8 tools to digitally detox right here.

reSTART Life

For those with truly destructive internet addictions, a wealth of traditional treatment therapies has sprung up around the country. The country’s first program was Washington state’s reSTART Life, an in-patient facility that has treated more than 150 people since 2008.

Last month, The Guardian took a look inside the facilities, meeting current patients.

“After completing the initial $25,000, 45-day residential stage at the main ‘campus’… clients move into the cheaper, off-site secondary phase,” they report. “Here they get to share a normal apartment, on the condition that they continue with psychotherapy, attend Alcoholics Anonymous-style 12-step meetings, search for work and avoid the internet for a minimum of six months.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, resources can be found at National Institute of Mental Health