Some people argue that internet addicts should just exercise more self-control to stop their excessive internet usage. Whilst there is some truth to this, I argue that the reason people become addicted to the internet is because they have poor impulse control in the first place. So instead I recommend installing software and changing your computers settings so that it is almost impossible for you to waste your time on the internet.
This method outlined below still enables internet usage for things such as work and studying, however when set up correctly it helps to prevent the user from visiting websites or online activities that they have become addicted to.
So here we go, here’s my method for curing and preventing internet addiction, I hope it helps:
1. The first thing I want you to do is to create a list in a new text document. First, go onto your computers desktop and create a new file and name it “websites to block”. You can do this by right-clicking on the desktop -> select new -> text document:
2. Next, I want you to start typing into this document a list of all the websites where you are currently wasting your time on. Brainstorm and write down every single website you’ve been to and wasted a significant amount of time on. Make the list as large as you can. Write down the URL or address of that website, not its name. These might include some of the following types of websites:
-social networking websites (Facebook)
-internet messageboards and forums
-social media websites
Your list may look something like this, except a lot larger:
Now I want you to separate the list into 3 separate groups:
List 1 will contain any websites which you use for communication such as email or social networking websites.
List 2 will contain any websites which you need to use as part of your work.
List 3 will contain any other websites which you waste your time on.
Your new list may look something like this:
3. The next thing I want you to do is to install a new website browser called Firefox. If you already have Firefox installed then please go to step 4. Firefox is the world’s best and most popular website browser and the reason I want you to download and install it is because you can change the settings on this browser in a way which you are unable to with Internet Explorer. Trust me on this one. It is very important that you take this step. You can download the latest version of Firefox from here:
4. Once you have followed the instructions on the Firefox homepage and installed your new website browser you need to take your next step which involves installing a plug-in. A plug-in is a piece of software that integrates with Firefox enabling you to change the way the program works.
I want you to install a program called leechBlock which is a productivity tool that helps you to stop visiting time waster websites. In fact, with the way I’m going to use it, it makes it almost impossible for you to do so, including with Internet Explorer. You can download the leechBlock plugin from this location here:
5. Once the plugin has been installed you will need to restart Firefox so make sure you have done this. Now it’s time to set up leechBlock correctly:
With Firefox installed and restarted go to menu bar at the top of the Firefox window and select Tools -> LeechBlock -> Options
6. You should then see a window that looks something like this:
7. Select the “access control” tab on the top right corner of the screen and change the settings so both the buttons are checked under ‘extension manager’ and a 64 character code is required to access the file. The settings should look like so:
8. Now select the “block set 1” tab on the top left corner of the window. I want you to change the name of this tab to “time waster websites”. Now go back to your “websites to block” text file and copy in list 3 (the list of sites which you don’t use for work, studying, email or communication. Instead only put in here general unimportant time waster websites). I want you to copy and paste this list into big text box which says “Enter the domain names of the sites to block”. After you have done this click the ‘Next’ button.
9. The new tab, “When to block” should now be open. Set up this new tab as shown in the picture below. Once you have done this, click next.
10. The tab “How to block” should now be open, configure this new tab so that it is the same as the settings shown in the picture below.
11. Now open block set 2 and repeat steps 8-10 with list 1 (websites used for communication) from your “websites to block” text file. However, on the “When to block” tab I recommend configuring the settings as following:
a) You want to set it up so that you can only access your email at certain times of the day such as 11-12am or 4-5pm, this can help you to stop your Facebook/Email addiction. To do this, change your settings as shown in the picture below,
once this is done click next and complete the “How to block” tab as was done in step 9.
b) Or you can set it up so that you only have a limited amount of time to access the websites each day, say 60 minutes. To do this change your settings as shown in the picture below,
once this is done click next and complete the “How to block” tab as was done in step 9.
12. You can then repeat similar steps with list 2 from the “websites to block” text file. Either limit the time you can spend on the website or only allow yourself to access the websites at certain times of the day so you can complete your work, basically do the same as in step 11 except for under a new tab with a different set of websites.
13. Double check that everything has been set up correctly then select OK. Now try to visit one of the websites which you have blocked permanently from the “time waster websites” tab. If leechBlock has been set up correctly then you will be unable to do so and instead will see a something like this:
14. This will now stop you from accessing these websites in the time periods you have specified. If there is an emergency or you need to change the settings then you can do so by entering the 64 digit character password which will look like something shown below (make sure you enter the character with the correct Upper or Lower case formats). This is a great way of preventing people from accessing sites on impulse because most people are too lazy to enter the 64 digit password, however if you really need to access a website then you can change the settings:
15. It’s not over yet, we still need to disable Internet Explorer otherwise you’ll just be tempted to start feeding your internet addiction again. Close down Firefox, and open up a new text file. In this text file I want you to write a lengthy password, something you would never be able to remember, something like:
It is important for you create your own password in this text file. With the password created I want you to now print off this password onto a piece of paper. If you don’t have a printer then write the password out onto a piece of paper and double check to make sure the password is correct. Take that piece of paper with the password stored on it and place it somewhere safe in your house or workplace.
Next, highlight the password from the text file and copy it like so.
16. Now open Internet Explorer and select “Tools -> Internet Options” from the menu bar at the top of the browser.
Then choose the ‘content’ tab.
Click on the ‘Settings’ button under ‘Content Advisor’. After this a window should pop up, now choose the ‘General’ tab.
Make sure both the boxes are not checked in the ‘User Options’ section. Then click on change password button. A new window will pop up and in it you should enter the password you created in step 15, just copy and paste it across. When you have done this click ‘OK’ then ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’ and you should be back at the content tab.
Now click the ‘Enable’ button in the content advisor section, you may have to enter you password again.
Once this is complete Internet Explorer should now be disabled. But you’re not quite finished yet. It is very important now that you delete the text file that contains your password to Internet Explorer and then empty the recycle bin on the computers desktop. Remember you still have the password stored elsewhere on paper for safe keeping. So do this right away, delete the password and empty the recycle bin on the desktop. If you don’t do this you’ll be tempted to change back your settings with ease.
17. You’ve now finished setting up an internet control system which will regulate how much time you spend on the internet, as well as where and when you can spend it.
There is one last thing that I recommend you still do. Create a new text file on your desktop again and this time label it as ‘to block in the future’. I recommend that if in the future you find yourself wasting away the hours on any new websites that you’ve discovered then you should immediately add them to this text file. Then every couple of days, enter the 64 digit pass code and add these to the list of blocked sites.
18. That’s it, you’re done. Sit back, relax and enjoy you new found freedom from internet addiction.