The internet; possibly the mother of all inventions, and one that can afford us many benefits.
We can easily stay in touch with friends and family on social media. We can access information at the click of a button, be it for work or personal purposes. We can play video games, watch cookery videos, read books, find jobs, and even find love. The internet then; a wealth of information and wonderful possibilities.
It’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and adorable cat videos in this virtual world. There are downsides to the internet, and while we would never suggest to the powers that be that they should switch it off (if that were even possible), you, as the internet user, should take care.
Here are some of the reasons why.
You might get hacked!
It’s not only the big companies of the world that get hacked. Millions of people are targeted every day, and you might be the next victim. If you click on a dodgy link, download an email attachment from an unknown source, or visit a website that has already been compromised, you might well find yourself in trouble. A hacker could steal both your financial information and your identity, and they could even shut down your computer permanently. Afraid? You should be.
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself from these nefarious miscreants. Be sensible online and never click on or download anything that appears unsafe. Install antivirus software and firewalls on your computer and remember to keep them updated. And using the advice within this article entitled What is my IP, protect your online address using VPN software. Hackers might still try to gain entry, but the more shields you put up to protect yourself, the more likely they are to leave you alone and move on to some other poor individual.
You could develop an internet addiction
How many hours have you spent online today? If you plugged yourself in first thing this morning, stayed glued to your smartphone throughout the day, and felt anxious whenever you were away from a wi-fi hotspot, then you may have an addiction problem. This is no laughing matter because as with most other addictions, your fixation on the internet could have a serious impact on your life.
You might miss out on social company if you are forever online. You could be late for work if you are up to the early hours browsing your favorite websites. And you could fall prey to health issues, from eye strain to depression, as seen within these signs and symptoms of internet addiction. It’s a real problem for many, and if you look out your window now, you will probably start to understand this. How many people can you see staring down at their smartphones?
So, do you have a problem with internet addiction? Take this test, and if the results make for unhappy reading, then you might want to follow the advice within the linked article and seek professional help. Believe it or not, there are actual therapy groups that have been set up to deal with this emerging problem, and your doctor or counsellor will point you in the right direction. But addicted or not, you should still spend less time online.
Spend more time with your friends face-to-face (no, we don’t mean Skype or Facetime), and take part in hobbies that require you to exercise more than your fingers and thumbs. Turn your phone off occasionally too, as this way you won’t be tempted to check Facebook etc., and busy yourself in the offline world, so you have less time to spend online.
You could spend more money than you should
E-shopping is incredibly convenient – why trail out to the store when you can order what you need online? But there is a downside to this, and that is the temptation to spend spend spend! With the glut of e-commerce sites, from Amazon to eBay, and the specialist sites that you might visit frequently, from online fashion boutiques to beauty websites, you might be dazzled by what’s on offer and hit ‘buy now’ with nary a thought. And with the many mega deals and online coupons available to you, you might also buy things that you don’t really need just because you think you have found a bargain.
Are you relating to what we are saying? Have you already overloaded your virtual shopping baskets today? If so, think about what you regularly buy, and ask yourself: Do I need them? If not, you should probably curb the temptation to buy, especially if you suspect you might have a spending addiction. Our advice is this; look at your savings goals, and consider where your money might be better spent in the future. And remove your credit card details from the sites that cause you more financial harm than good. This way, it won’t be so easy for you to purchase anything when you’re browsing online as you will have to do more than hit the ‘pay now’ button.
Hoorah to the internet for the many wonderful things it can offer us, but beware the dangers, some of which we have illustrated here. Take care then, and use the internet responsibly to improve and not damage your life.
Thanks for reading.