Mymentalspace.com helps students and Internet surfers stay off distracting sites when studying and doing school work, with a free downloadable app.
There’s still hope for Internet addicts.
Mymentalspace.com has a free downloadable app that can block distracting sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube in order to help people get their lives back.
The app, called Mentalspace Manager gives users the ability to block any sites they desire and also allows them to select certain days and times they wish to be denied access.
They must choose someone they trust to be their mental network admin, as he or she is the only person with the power to unblock a website.
Mark Ostach, CEO of mymentalspace who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in information systems, was inspired to create the app due to Internet tendencies he witnessed in himself and others.
According to Ostach, not only do people spend a significant amount of time on websites such as Facebook, but they are also allowing such websites to affect their emotions.
He said users constantly strive to have the most friends and get a high number of “likes” on status updates.
“It’s this weird kind of attention vacuum that we’re looking to get plugged into,” Ostach said.
Ostach said web users don’t understand that viewing an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend’s Facebook profile or watching negative viral videos are harmful to their well-being.
“What you don’t realize is how that content affects your mood and day,” Ostach said.
Jake Kantola, exercise science sophomore, said sometimes Facebook seems to cause more harm than good.
“It doesn’t affect me personally, but I think that’s how a lot of problems start,” Kantola said.
Brooke Juday, exercise science sophomore, said Facebook would be more enjoyable if people were more conscientious about what they post.
“Some people post things that people just don’t need to know,” Juday said. “I’d say it gets emotional.”
In addition to affecting emotions, Ostach said the Internet is a contributor to procrastination among high school and college students.
Brian Warner, criminal justice senior, said he admits that Facebook and StumbleUpon consume more of his time than necessary and cause him to procrastinate on assignments.
He said he tends to procrastinate on papers the most.
“I wait until the last minute and whip it out,” Warner said. “Even while I’m writing, I’m flipping between tabs to look at Facebook.”
Along with eliminating unwanted emotions and procrastination, Ostach said he hopes the Mentalspace Manager can help students be conscious of how much time they spend online in order to avoid “techno brain burnout.”
“It’s that feeling of exhaustion after searching the web for six hours and you don’t know why,” he said.
The app includes a timer function to help people control Internet usage. Users can set the length of time they wish to be on the Internet and an alarm will go off once the time expires.
Another feature allows users to set their mood. Doing so gives the app a chance to show users how their online behaviors correlate with how they feel.
Ostach wants the app to be effective yet enjoyable.
One way of doing so is providing users with an inspirational quote, photo or video if they attempt to access a blocked site.
“It’s not meant to be a clinical app,” Ostach said. “It’s meant to be fun.”
In addition to managing mymentalspace, Ostach also presents a program called “Project Disconnect.” He speaks at schools, universities and youth groups to inform people of the importance of balancing time on the web.