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Psychology Project on Computer Usage

I am going to analyze and try to change a behavior of mine relating to the time spent on the computer. I am finding that I use the computer more than I would like to and it is causing me concern.

  • Self Monitoring

1) The behavior that I have selected to change is the amount of time spent on the computer per day. This only includes leisure time, not studying or homework. I would like to drastically lower my leisure time on the computer.

2) I’ve decided to track my behavior by keeping a notebook next to my desk, and marking in it (after each session of using the computer) how long I used it for. 3) The chart is the last sheet in this packet.

Description

  • Describing the Target Behavior

1) My behavior I was monitoring was the amount of leisure time I spent on the computer. This could include watching movies on my computer, playing video games, or just doing random things like browsing Reddit or watching videos on Youtube. I decided to track my behavior by keeping a notebook next to my desk, and marking in it (after each session of using the computer) how long I used it for. Based on the information on the chart I made, I use the computer an average of 3.666 times per day, and an average of 10.9444 hours per day.

2) My precise goal is to lower the amount of time I spend using the computer for leisurely activities. I would like to bring the amount of time I spend doing this down from 11 hours per day to 5 hours per day. It doesn’t matter if I use it for five one-hour sessions, or one five-hour session, as long as I don’t use it more than 5 hours per day.

3) By limiting my leisurely computer time, I’m not really losing too much. I can still play games with my friends, watch movies and shows, read news, and just mess around on the internet in 5 hours per day. I do, on the other hand, gain quite a bit for limiting my leisurely computer time. I will gain roughly 6 hours per day to do whatever I want with. This could allow me more time in which to exercise, study, or actually go outside and do things. I feel more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically motivated to change this behavior because I really want to do it just for me. It’s kind of embarrassing to think that I spend almost half of my life having fun on the computer. Lowering this amount would make me feel like a better person, and that’s why I want to do it.

Analysis

  • Analysis of the Behavior

1) I’ve been thinking about the triggers or antecedents for playing on the computer, and there aren’t too many. The only triggers I could think of were being at home, having free time, being bored, and having friends who are equally addicted to the computer. Generally, I only get on the computer if I am bored, or my friends ask me to. Other than that, nothing really triggers me to use the computer.

2) Consequences of this behavior are that I am burning up ALL of my free time. Honestly, unless I am eating, sleeping, studying, or at school, I am on the computer. That’s really the only negative consequence. The positive ones are that it is extremely fun, it’s really just about the only time I talk to my friends, and it keeps me up to date on the news.

3) I am less healthy as a result and am gaining weight from poor diet and inactivity. If I used the computer less I would be able to get outside more and do physical activities that are better for my body in the long run because they burn excess calories that I have collected from my sedentary lifestyle. I also end up with a poor diet because I want convenient meals so I can get back to playing games which is also a problem, so using the computer less would give me more time to focus on my diet.

Intervention

  • Creating an Intervention Plan

1) The only triggers/antecedents that I can think to change that would be the free time. If I don’t have free time, then I won’t be bored and be tempted to play on the computer. Also, if I’m busy, my friends will understand why I cannot get on and play with them. So I need to find something that takes up my free time. I need to find another hobby that I can pour my free time into.

2) The only way I can manipulate the consequences to make myself want to use the computer less is to find something else that I would like to do with my free time. Currently, yes, the computer wastes all my free time, but who cares? There’s really nothing else I want to do with my free time. So the thing that should be a major negative consequence, really isn’t one to me. So, like #1 said, I need to find some sort of hobby that I like that I will want to spend time on.

3) Potential barriers are things like my friends, and my interests. If I cannot find something else I actually enjoy doing with my free time, then I will become bored and want to play on the computer. So the inability to find something else that will interest me is a major concern. Also, my friends could be a big problem. Even if I do find something that is enjoyable, if my friends ask me to go play on the computer, I probably won’t want to turn them down. Those are really the only two things that I can see preventing me from reaching my goal with this intervention strategy.

4) My maintenance plan is to change my whole life. By finding something else that I will want to do, I will naturally spend less time on the computer. Finding that “something else” will be that hard part though.

5) To keep track of my computer time, I will keep a log just like before.

Conclusions

By looking more into my computer usage and analyzing it honestly it is clear that I am using the computer far too much and it is taking its toll on everything in my life as a result. This list of things includes my health, my relationships, my ability to learn, and other things because the side effects of this level of computer usage (11 hours a day) are extremely encompassing and spread into all parts of my life. Sure I have learned things on the computer and good has come from it as well, but not enough to account for 11 hours per day! I am going to start using the computer less and hopefully if you are using the computer a lot (you must be if you are reading this on the computer) you can analyze your behaviors and see if it might make sense for you to do the same.


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