Hey, Hello Gigglers! Welcome to a new installment of my recent Google searches. My Google search that stood out most this week was riddled with irony. I mean, who seeks advice on an existing problem from the very source of that problem? I do, apparently.
I know that the subject of “internet addiction” has been beaten into the ground so many times before that we’ve sort of decided to accept it as a fact of modern life and stop questioning it. Most of us live in denial about the extent of the problem and we tend to brush it off because “everybody’s like that”. But don’t we all think about disconnecting from time to time and fail miserably? Don’t we all get super proud of ourselves if we manage to go a mere few hours without going online or IMing on our phones? When was the last time you went to the bathroom without your phone? Weren’t you ever out with friends and thought at least once about going home to your laptop to see what’s been happening on the internet? How in the world did we come to this?
The other day I drove down to my grandfather’s house to spend some quality time with him. Naturally, I brought my laptop and USB internet modem with me because really, who spends quality time with real life human beings anymore? I got there to find that my grandpa had prepared all kinds of fun stuff that we could do; he had taken out a chess set, a stack of cards, old photo albums that we could look at… And when I saw that I felt a huge pang of guilt because when I really thought about it, I was planning on spending the day in the virtual world, with my real life grandfather in the background. This is when I realized I had a problem. Most of the results this search yielded dealt with the very extreme cases of addiction such as cybersex addiction, compulsive online gaming, gambling, stock trading, shopping and use of online auction sites like eBay. But very few articles discussed cases similar to us (relatively) normal people. But, how normal are we anyway? Here are some things I think to myself almost every night:
- “I’ll just visit this one website 60 or 70 more times and then I swear I’ll hit the sack.”
- “How will I ever get a good night’s sleep if I don’t read the entire internet first?!”
- “What if I look away and something happens to my follower count? “
- “I have work tomorrow, but who goes to sleep when people on the internet are still awake?”
- “*Yaaaawn* But… but… YouTube…”
- “I wonder what my ex’s life is like now. It’s okay if I obsessively stalk him on the internet for a couple of hours before I fall asleep, right? Of course it is.”
- “I can’t wait to go out tomorrow and stare at my phone all day!”
I’m almost certain each and every one of you will relate to at least one of those thoughts. How many times have you thought, “What did I do before the internet?” and shuddered at the mere thought of not having internet access? It’s one thing to go online during the day as some sort of tool to procrastinate or pass the time, but when the internet starts competing with sleep (which I’m sure we all absolutely love), we know we’ve got a problem. We need to disconnect. But how? How do we kick that habit? What if school or work is online and we can only keep up by remaining “plugged in” all the time? And most importantly, what if something happens online and we miss it?! Unfortunately, I didn’t find a satisfactory answer to my problem. And so I aimlessly surfed the internet some more and giggled/sighed at the thought that you will be reading this here – online.
(It totally is, Alanis. It totally is.)
Share your thoughts on this in the comments section and let me know what crazy things you’ve been Googling lately!
Images via Steve Rhode on Flickr and Tumblr.