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Internet addiction

Internet Addiction:

Back isn’t any better, but at least it’s not any worse. Think I may have dodged a bullet there. I’m used to muscle ache the next day, but not the same day. Hope it’s just that I did an exercise badly rather than a sign that I’m getting old.


Earlier today I found myself enjoying a typically lazy Sunday morning. The TV was on, and I was giving it about half of my attention, the other half alternating between what I was going to do with the day and whether to get up off the sofa and make another cup of coffee. Pretty riveting stuff.


Suddenly I became aware of an all-too-familiar impulse to pick up my phone. If it’d been within reach I probably would have given into to it without a second thought, but it was charging on the other side of the room. (Note to self: leave phone in inconvenient locations more often to deter aimless fiddling. Brainstorm other ideas). So in other words, laziness was quite useful on that occasion, preventing me from being unproductive. If you see what I mean.


internet addiction

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There’s no doubt in my mind that technology – the internet in particular – is highly addictive, but you don’t hear about it as much compared to other more conventional addictions, like tobacco, alcohol, junk food, caffeine etc. Maybe it’s because with those things you physically take something into your body, whereas internet addiction has more in common with gambling or compulsive shopping. The buzz is very real, but all in the head, if that makes any sense. I myself got addicted to online poker for a month or two about two years ago. Only using virtual money (I’ve never used real money so I can’t say it’s the same thing) but the adrenaline surge from taking a massive risk and winning a hand was unmistakeable. 


However, the buzz you get from aimlessly checking your email, Facebook news feed, news app, (insert favourite information-provider here), pales in comparison. Mild interest at best. So it’s not the adrenaline-rush that keeps me doing it. More likely it’s a momentary distraction that requires minimal conscious effort – a short escape from what deep down I know I should be doing. The equivalent of a cigarette break at work, minus the social aspect. Afterwards, when I ask myself if I feel better having indulged myself, the answer is no. Ok, it’s good to keep abreast of the news, but it’s not as if I need hourly updates. Better to set aside time once or twice a day to catch up in a purposeful way. Plus there’s so much negativity in the news, it can’t be good to be reminded of it umpteen times a day.


I’m going to make more effort to be wary of the temptation to indulge in the quick information-fix impulse. Why? What’s wrong with habitually looking at your phone if you’re paying hard-earned money for it every month and it’s unlimited data? Isn’t it wasteful not to take full advantage of whatever unbeatable tariff your provider has given you, their special customer? For me the danger is that I’ll get so used to occupying my attention for minutes at a time (sometimes less) that my attention span will suffer, especially when it comes to challenging material. Like figuring out how to use Google Adwords for example.


One thing I’ve done is to cut down on how much time I listen to music on my iPhone when I’m out and about. Better to listen to what’s going on in my head and get ideas for writing.


Some people might just advise me to keep listening to the music.

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