Father Sez

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Posts Tagged ‘internet addiction’

The results are in ……I am not a Net junkie.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

About a month ago, I wrote about my little Internet experiment. I wanted to stay away from the Internet for a week and check out the effects. 

It has been said that habits form slowly and seamlessly. A cigarette once in a while becomes a cigarette more often and before we know it, we become a cigarette junkie. The simile used by Dr. Covey, I think, was the building of thick mighty ropes strong enough to hold ships still, by the use of small fine threads over and over again. 

Many of us use the Internet at work, home and play. Maybe even without us realising it, we might be Net addicted. It might show by we becoming uneasy when we do not have access.  I should know, I used to feel that I was one of them.  

So the week without any access to the Net was an important test case.  And I am happy to report that the week went well, and life went on just fine and dandy without accessing the Net at all. 

As expected, my reader box is overflowing. I am still reading the blog posts of late October, and the debates on the US Presidential elections are still going on. (It does feel a little strange to read about predictions etc., where the outcome is now known). 

I feel that this experiment was a very useful thing to do. I am clear of all withdrawal symptoms and am sure that I’ll get by another week or two if I chose to.  

Bloggers and readers of blogs must be prolific users of the Net. The same can be said for the younger generation who are so attuned to computers and the Net that they might not be able to imagine life without or before the Net. It may do us some good to once in a while take a step back and say that we are going to live our lives without the Net for a week or so.    

Next week, I am attending a 4 day course and am travelling for a couple of days after that. As at now, my plan is not to take the laptop along and just stay away from the online world.  

After all I do have an offline world that I should be focussing on.   

A taste of cold turkey treatment …… a little at least

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Quite a bit has been written about internet addiction (a Google search turned up 4.9 million pages). Internet addiction seems to be ranked up there with other more punitive forms of addiction like gambling etc. 

To quote Louise Nadeau, a professor at Montreal University’s Department of Psychology:

“The problem isn’t widespread but we know of serious cases in which teenagers don’t leave the house, don’t have interpersonal relationships, and have been isolated in front of their computer screen for the past two or three years, and only speak in the language of the characters they play with in network video games,”   

 

And whilst I am not a teenager nor play any video games, it looks like I may be one of the characters the good professor is talking about.  Checking my mail, looking up the political blogs, reading the online news portals, and checking my blog stats 3 – 4 times a day sure seem sufficient criteria to put me in this classification of an internet junkie.  

To make us want to check the Net is a pull that is difficult to define. Certainly it is not important, much less urgent, yet there is this craving. I am a late starter. I think it was only in the late 90’s that I started using email etc. We were then in Ghana and not having phone lines in our house we had to use cyber cafes. So the use was not that prevalent.

When I returned to Malaysia in 2001, by then all office computers were hooked up and we were online all the time we were in the office.  Now we also have Internet at home. 

The following study by Kimberly S. Young of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on the same issue was published in 1996. So perhaps now the malaise is even more widespread and deeper rooted.

There have been times when I have gone without looking at the Net for a day or two. This is usually when I am traveling and the transit airports did not have facilities that were cheap. Perhaps the longest was the one week I spent in India when my mother passed away. Somehow I feel that week should not count. 

Now I want to purposely try a week without any connection with the online world.  I’ll be in Jakarta for the rest of this week. I’ll be coming back late on Friday night and on the Saturday we have a full day planned for visits to family and friends. I am going to Jakarta without my laptop (just swinging my arms like a tourist (as my old geology professor told a bunch of us after returning from a 3 day field trip)). So it will be about 6 days without accessing the Net.  I want to see how strong the pull would be.

I am confident that no important messages such as those requiring my services to resolve the world’s financial crisis or to settle the repatriation of the Nigerian princes untold millions in an African Bank will be missed as I’ll still have my cell phone with me.  

The only negative may be that my Reader Inbox will be overflowing and I may not respond to comments as soon as I should. 

Let’s see how this “semi medical” exercise goes.   

Note: 

No, my son and I are not at the above depicted stages yet. And we are sure we’ll never be. The pictures are from Google Images.

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