Internet Addiction: Discuss
Looking back and thinking about last week I found that I’m less active on the Internet than I used to be. I then started to wonder why? Roll back 9 years or so when I was at college I was in chat rooms most of my spare time. In fact, I was an MSN chat room moderator for a while. I was also active in forums, online gaming clans as well as jumping in and getting active in Dubit which was a Habbo Hotel style chat place but was based in Leeds near where I lived. I wrote articles to do with online gaming; I was immersed in the online offerings that the Internet gave. Fast forward to now and other than twitter, my blog and Football Manager Live I’m pretty inactive in most places.
Take Facebook, yes I’m on there but I visit it perhaps daily for one or two days then not again for a week or so. Or MySpace, created an account, haven’t used it for probably well over a year. I can say this about many forums, websites and even chat itself (both IRC and MSN) – they interest me less and less. If I was to analyse the cause or a reason I would say that when I was at college I had moved to yet another new town and all the friends I made at college lived elsewhere. I didn’t drive so I could only communicate with them online or via phone and it was more convenient to do it by chat etc as I had the PC in my room. It was heavily used when I got together with Cati for obvious reasons. Now, however, I live with Cati and I know many people in the city I live in. If I want to visit friends who live further afield I drive. Not only that I prefer a phone call if I want to catch up. Yes I know I could use Skype (and I do when I parents are in France as it’s cheaper) but not everyone I know is on there and I get free minutes on my mobile.
I still use the Internet a lot but as last week showed I can easily go without. There are people I know who are constantly online and updating their status or chatting. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing because as far as I know I don’t think any of them are massive addicts. However at the same time it brings up the current discussions that we as a race are becoming less social beings. The advent of online communications means that we send each other messages on Facebook than say call; or send an e-mail than write a letter, an art they say, is dying. Some would say that this isn’t a bad thing I mean an e-mail gets there instantly and, as long as your recipients net connection is up they receive it. Normal mail is at the mercy of us mere humans prone to losing the odd letter and such. At the same time though I really enjoy the more personal feel of a letter and they say you can learn a lot about a person from their handwriting – maybe that’s why people prefer e-mail ;) Similar arguments can be said for forums, chat clients and so on.
Their replacement of what were normal human interactions have good and bad points. It makes keeping in touch over vast distances easy, convenient and cheap. At the same time however they are pulling us away from doing what is natural and that is interacting, socialising and well, being human. I’m not trying to say the Internet is bad or that anyone should stop using it to keep in touch, far from it. What I am saying is perhaps find a balance write a letter sometime instead of an e-mail or meet up with a friend in person rather than wait till they come on MSN. Like most things in life it’s good in moderation but when taken to excess it becomes detrimental.
Are you an Internet addict or is there no such thing? Or all in all am I just talking twaddle?