Despite the claims found in comment sections, few people's cousins make six figures online. The person who posted that probably doesn't even have a cousin. They probably aren't even a person. It's all lies.
But it's not at all impossible to leverage your time-wasting Internet addiction in favor of your bank account. The following methods probably won't turn you into a character from The Wolf of Wall Street, but they might help you buy a better TV to watch it on.
Complete market surveys in your spare time
What you can make: Varies, depending on which surveys you qualify for
Will you make a living taking surveys online? No, unless the living itself will be done in your parents' basement. That said, clicking a few boxes to let market researchers know you're totally happy with your cable provider is an easy way to make extra bucks on the side. Popular spots for this type of gig include Swagbucks, Mechanical Turk, and Opinion Outpost, though new ones are constantly hitting the web.
Take on simple side jobs
What you can make: Between $5 to $30 per hour
If you can't even waste time in front of the TV without your laptop in front of you, there's easy money to be made. Clickworker crowdsources small Internet jobs, like research and writing, for its clients, offering up tasks to users who qualify. Just sign up, take the assessment tests, then check back for jobs whenever you have free time. You won't make Walter White money this way, but you can do it while binge-watching Breaking Bad for the fourth time. Particularly focused users report making up to $30 per hour on occasion.
Work out, get rewarded financially
What you can make: $0.30 to $5 per week
Burning off the calories from that dollar menu dinner might not be enough motivation to work out, but the chance to get back the money you spent on it could be. The fitness app Pact uses the principle of "we're in a recession, dammit" to get you in shape. Users make weekly fitness goals and put cash up to hold themselves accountable. Users who don't meet their goals lose their money, which then gets paid out to those who do.
And yes, you have to use the app to monitor your workout. No cheating.
Sell your photos
What you can make: Between $10 to $125 per photo sold, depending on license
If your photography skills are worth more than a few thousand followers on Instagram, you could stand to make some extra cash from your work. The free photo-sharing app EyeEm lets users post photos to their Getty collection, where stock photo-hungry folks can license their pics for a fee. EyeEm splits the profits with photographers 50/50. Foap is another app you can use this way.
You basically have no excuse to shoot selfies anymore.
Let scientists study you
What you can make: At least $7.50 per hour
Scientists need participants for their studies, and turning to the Internet gives them a wider variety of people than the dudes on campus who need some extra beer money. Prolific Academic connects researchers with potential candidates, and requires that the studies pay a minimum of $7.50 per hour. The work is restricted to online opportunities, so no worries, they won't use you to test the effects of radioactive spider bites.
Participate in focus groups
What you can make: Varies, but rarely more than $100
If you're already on the Internet, you're probably not afraid to share your opinion on anything and everything. Might as well make some money doing it. While many focus groups require in-person attendance, plenty let you participate remotely. Through sites like FocusGroup.com, PaidFocusGroup.net, and the app dscout, you can receive alerts when you qualify for a market research study. Gigs often involve watching a video or interviewing via phone. Unlike your Facebook friends, these people actually want to hear your opinion.
Learn to program, then sell an app
What you can make: Anything from a few bucks to a few billion, depending on talent, experience, and funds
Sure, your last name might not be Zuckerberg, and your idea for an app that gives you the perfect reading material for your time on the toilet is already taken. But learning to code isn't as tough as you think. You probably won't make anything as sophisticated as Instagram, but thanks to the wealth of resources available, you can still acquire the necessary skills to create something worthy of a download on iTunes. Amateur app developers with no previous experience have reported making about $400 a week by practicing this in their spare time.
Sell used items on sites like eBay
What you can make: $2,000 per month, if you work hard at it
The Internet is both the world's largest collection of useless crap, as well as the largest collection of people willing to pay money to own that crap. While you've always known you can make some spare cash disposing of your pogs and Beanie Babies on eBay, dedicated folks have shown that you can make a pretty sweet living flipping cheap yard sale and thrift store finds if you treat it like a business. This guide will help you get started, so you're not dumpster diving in the hopes of recovering riches.
Write and sell a self-published novel
What you can make: Millions (but manage your expectations)
The ebook publishing model has opened doors for authors who previously couldn't get their work in front of readers. Sure, on the one hand, this approach has plagued us with 50 Shades of Grey, but it's also allowed some genuinely talented writers to make big bucks. Amanda Hocking has famously made millions writing fantasy novels, while authors like J.A. Konrath regularly pull in six figures self-publishing, by earning royalties whenever their work is downloaded for the Kindle, Nook, or other digital reading device. Check out how you can do the same.
Download apps that will make you money
What you can make: Small amounts of Paypal cash, gift cards
You don't need a laptop to make extra cash online; your smartphone is more than capable of delivering the goods. Swagbucks, mentioned earlier, has an app for iOS and Android, where you can earn rewards for filling out surveys, watching videos, and shopping. App Trailers pays you in gift cards and Paypal deposits for previewing upcoming apps. Mobee finds local opportunities to be a paid mystery shopper. ReceiptHog dishes out gift cards and Paypal cash when you snap pictures of your receipts, because it is very important for companies to know you bought that discount Hoobastank CD.