Smart consumer tips and strategies from Eyewitness News Online
Shopping at online auction sites can be a great way to find bargains. But, that rush of excitement after finding those "steals" can lead to an addiction for some. "You can find whatever you want, whenever you want, 24 hours, 7 days a week," says Dr. Kimberly Young, author of Caught in the Net. So, how do you know if you have a problem?
Dr. Young says you should reassess usage if:
>>You're spending money you don't have.
>>Your online habits are damaging relationships with your spouse, children, friends, coworkers, or boss.
>>It's having a negative impact on the job.
>>You're lying about the amount of time or money you're spending on these sites.
>>You're skipping meals to be online.
>>You're disrupting your sleep schedule.
>>You feel empty, depressed, or irritable when not using auction sites.
>>You're consistently preoccupied with bidding.
Take Our Test
Are you addicted to bidding online? Take our test from the Center for Online Addiction to find out. Answer "yes" or "no" to the following statements:
Do you need to bid with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement?
Are you preoccupied with auction houses? Are you thinking about being online when offline, anticipating your next session?
Have you lied to friends or family members to conceal the extent of your bidding?
Do you feel restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop online bidding?
Do you use auction houses as a way of escaping from problems, to relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression?
Have you jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of online bidding?
Have you committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance online activities?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you may be addicted to online auction houses.
Have a Problem?
If you think you have a problem with online auctions:
Dr. Young suggests limiting the amount of time you spend online. "Say you go surfing the sites 20 hours a week, maybe you set up a new goal for yourself and limit it to 10 hours a week."
You may also want to take advantage of software that blocks access to auction sites.
If this doesn't work, Dr. Young says it's time to see a mental health professional who specializes in addictive behaviors.
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