I Am *Not* Hooked!

23 02 2012

I can quit anytime I want. Heck, I’ve been doing this for over 15 years.

I’m talking about the internet, of course. The problem is, I don’t want to quit. And, according to the folks at Mashable, there’s a lot of other people who are hooked and don’t want to quit. And for a variety of reasons.

Many studies have been done at the academic level regarding the Uses and Gratifications of internet usage. Mashable’s Infographic puts it all in layman’s terms. Basically, we kinda dig what we’re able to do online, and it has become like a digital cigarette. It’s a hard habit to break, especially when you don’t want to.

I am one of the lucky ones, I suppose. I “have” to use it, since I teach online most of the time, as well as teach about all things social and words prefixed by an e-, i-, m-, or s-. But that is probably just a flimsy disguise for the fact that being online perfectly suits my personality.

But personality aside, the internet can truly become more than just an addiction. It can become dysfunctional to the point of alienation. Do you find yourself compulsively checking your phone for email? Facebook replies? Tweets?

You may just be addicted.

Can you go more than a couple of hours without checking in to any online portal? If not, you may just be addicted.

Do you keep your phone or iPad within a couple of feet while sleeping? OK, I’ll try to quit talking about myself.

It’s OK to have addictions. The problem is when you allow them to interfere with other facets of your life. If you’re out with friends, family or colleagues, it’s probably not a good idea to keep checking your Facebook.

But I will confess to laughing while in social groups, waiting for the first person to sneak a peak at his or her phone. Know what happens next? Everyone else quickly feels justified in checking their phones for incoming messages.

Messages that could no doubt wait, but heck, Joe over here is puffing away on the internet, so it’s OK for the rest of us to light up.

They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And while I know that I do use the internet an awful lot…OK, a ton…it’s only a problem if it starts hurting personal or professional relationships. Until that time, though, I suppose we can all agree that the internet is the crack cocaine of the digiterati. And you had better step aside when we start having a jones. I’ll try to keep it short and under control, but it’s not easy.

That’s what happens after 15 years.

Dr “Facing Two Hours In The Air Today Without A Signal” Gerlich

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One response

23 02 2012
dwinger

I have students come into my office to hang out between classes. I look away from my computer and talk to them.

As soon as they pull out their phone to check a message, I turn back to the computer. No one seems to care. We are enjoying online and physical presence at the same time.

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