We set up this forum so that NoSurfers could have their own community.
We envisioned the forum as a positive, supportive place where members could find support for their internet addiction and know that they weren’t alone in the struggle.
Here members have intelligent and thoughtful discussions on topics like overcoming internet addiction, neuroscience, technology, and positive habits like meditation and journaling.
This forum has the potential to have a great positive impact on your life. However, it still is a place on the internet and therefore also has the potential to be a source of mindless browsing, the exact kind of internet use that we are seeking to eradicate.
This means that this forum should be used with clear awareness and intention, so that it functions as a tool to better your life.
I’ve outlined a few strategies below on how to use this forum effectivly.
Set Guidelines For Yourself
“I will only check the forum in the evenings.”
“I will check the forum only on weekends.”
“I will allow 20-30 minutes of forum use everyday.”
Use Software So That You Meet Your Guidelines
Use browser extensions like StayFocusd on Chrome or LeechBlock on Firefox to limit your time.
For more robust blocking use self control software like Cold Turkey or SelfControl
With the software type in:
Then set the block until the evenings, or the weekend, or whatever schedule you prefer.
With the paid version of cold turkey you can create schedules as well as setting yourself allowances. E.g. Blocking until 8pm every night or allowing yourself 20-30 minutes a day
Handling Mobile Use
This forum has a great mobile interface which makes it tempting to check on your smartphone when bored or trying to pass time.
On iPhone you can block specific websites by going into your Screen Time settings. Have someone set a PIN code for you so that you can’t override it.
Then click “Content & Privacy Restrictions”, then click “block adult content”. This option blocks adult content and it also gives you the ability to block specific sites.
Click “add site” then type in “discuss.nosurf.org”
As far as I know, there is no way to block specific sites on Android. However I believe you can block entire apps, with apps like AppBlock. You can try using this to block Chrome entirely.
Note: I don’t own an Android so my knowledge is limited, if anyone has any better strategies please share.
Write Posts Elsewhere
Write your posts in a notebook or document, then transfer them into the forum rather than typing them up in the forum itself.
Bringing our attention to what we are doing in the present moment can be very helpful in using the internet in a disciplined manner.
To do this, bring your focus to each action you perform on this forum to ensure that those actions aren’t mindless. Read each post in a deep, attentive manner rather than merely skimming through them. Train yourself to read word by word, line by line so that you engage your “deep” mind rather than your scattered “internet” mind.
Ideas For The Future
The software this forum runs on, Discourse, features the ability to add plugins. I don’t currently know if this is possible but one idea I have is to create a plugin that allows members to set a time limit for their forum use. After their time limit is reached they are automatically logged out.
To prevent members from continuing to browse while not logged in, there is already a plugin that blocks non logged in viewers of the forum from browsing more than X topics without signing up.
Combined these could be very effective strategies to ensure that all our members use this forum in a positive manner.