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The term offline life refers to a person's life in the real world while not on the Internet. Many have a life where the Internet is a big part of their day-to-day routine, some have blurred the two worlds, and others may have little to no life off the computer. Those experiencing the latter may have an Internet addiction and other issues. It's vital to find a balance between spending time on the computer and experiencing firsthand everything the world has to offer.
An offline life consists of going places, seeing people and having experiences that don't include being on the computer. Certain things, such as exercising, getting enough vitamin D from the sun, and being able to have physical contact with another individual, cannot be replicated via a computer. Although someone can see almost anything on the Internet, it's often a better experience to be able to see, touch, feel, smell and hear it in person.
Almost anything can be done via the Internet, including shopping, conversing and finding information on almost anything. Social networking sites, forums, email and instant messengers have allowed people to frequently interact with those from all over the world without making much of an effort. With the ability to do so much on the Internet at any given time, many have made the computer a big part of their day-to-day lives.
Although it's typical for the two lives to blur together considering the Internet can often enhance a person's life, some have taken elements initially developed solely in their online life and incorporated them into their offline life. Many have physically met individuals they likely would not have encountered had it not been for the Internet, such as meeting a partner on a dating site or meeting a best friend from a forum developed specifically for those with a particular interest. Others have acquired Internet-based jobs that have brought in enough money to count as full- or part-time income. To differentiate between their online and offline lives, some may clarify by using the abbreviation “RL,” which stands for “real life.” For example, someone may say “I was telling my RL friend about my weekend.”
Certain issues, such as depression and anxiety, may fuel an Internet addiction because it makes it easy to avoid the offline life, and the issues that come from it, as much as possible. One of the main signs of having an addiction to the Internet is when real life severely suffers — the social life is almost or entirely non-existent and bonds have broken with family and friends. Physical signs include strained vision, severe headaches and developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
To better balance an offline life with time spent online, establish computer use limits for each day, especially when it comes to tasks that aren't necessary, such as those that aren't work-related. When not at home, avoid looking at the Internet, even if that means not using the browser on the cell phone. Make plans with family and friends at least a few times each week and create an exercise routine that involves getting out of the house.
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