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How Much of an Online Social Life is Healthy for at Home Parents?

Aug 16, 2008
One of the great things about the Internet is how it has opened people up to friendships around the world. While some people view online relationships as shallow things, they can be quite deep and meaningful too.

But is there a point where enough is enough?

Too much is when you spend excessive time with your online friends, to the detriment of your family, home and other interests. It's when it keeps you from maintaining local friendships.

Why do I think local friendships are important?

Think of it this way. When you go on vacation, who watches your house and feeds the pets? If you get sick, who helps you and your family get through it.

Dear as online friends may be, there are just some things they cannot do. You need local friends for all those things that can only be done in person.

Not to mention the fun days or nights out with friends. Those times can be pretty nice to have. It's not all about trading favors.

What are some signs that you're too focused on your online social life?

1. Online socializing is the first and last thing you want to check on, every day.

It's one thing if you have an online business and you need to hop online to check on things. But when you overdo the social things, checking email and chatting up friends on forums and social sites, you end up losing a lot of your day.

2. It's hard to go on vacation because you can't chat with your friends.

I know how hard it can be to go on vacation if you're online a lot. But if it's keeping you from enjoying your vacations, it's probably time to cut back.

3. You put off daily life for your online social life.

There's one great thing about online friends. You can send them a message at your convenience, not theirs. If interacting with your online friends is making it hard for you to get on with your daily life, you're probably spending too much time on it.

So how do you get it back under control?

1. Set time limits.

Doesn't take much more than this. Pick a time of day that you can be online. Decide how long you can be online and stick to it. You can even tell your online friends that it's time for you to cut back, and they'll generally be supportive. Not like you have to disappear completely, after all.

2. Cut back on where you socialize.

If things are out of control beyond your ability to control with a time limit, consider if you're just trying to socialize at too many places online. If you're active at a dozen forums and several social sites it can be really hard to keep up. Are they all really that important to you? Are you really interacting with different people at all of them?

Sometimes you'll realized that you have the same group of friends on multiple sites. This can make cutting back easier, as you can still enjoy being around your closest online friends while simplifying your life a little.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ as a resource for stay at home moms. Get more tips from her free newsletter for stay at home moms .
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