For a change this article isn’t going to be written in the third person, it will be my own personal experience with the Internet and how I have come to realise that the World Wide Web has taken over my life.
My name is Declan and I am addicted to the Internet!
My first encounter with the online world came at the age of eleven, we’d always had computers in our home from consoles to the PC so I had no problem in weaving my way around the early days of Irish internet and dial-up, in fact I used to hum that screeching noise (the phone line connecting to the modem). Back then you had to wait minutes from a simple picture to load but I was more than happy to do so. I got my first taste of online gaming with Neopets (obviously not the most sophisticated of games but I was 11 and easily entertained), I was a Napster kid, eagerly trolling my way through dodgy chat rooms blissfully unaware of the apparent dangers talking to what I believed were other pre-teens!
I used it for everything, gaming, studying and staying in touch with pen-pals, the friends I had made online. I had made a little home for myself and as I grew older that expanded into my own community and world.
By the time college rolled around I was signed up to Gmail, Bebo, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and anything else that nabbed my attention. Freely sharing my information, photos and life with anyone else who chose to do so, I hadn’t noticed but I had in fact become addicted and the problem was only going to get worse when I got my hands on a top Broadband connection.
A typical day began with me logging into to check e-mails then my profiles for messages and updates! Now obviously I run ‘the arcade’ so I have e-mails, research and articles to work on so that would eat into a lot of my time but I never considered that actually using the internet because it was for work.
(Truthfully this article and most of my articles will take me twice as long to write simply because I will Alt+Tab to my internet browser and flick through whatever pages I have open reading the same statuses or posts several times!)
After all that it’s back to my profiles follow quickly by some dungeon crawling in World of Warcraft or anything between five to ten games of League of Legends. Suddenly it’s 10pm and I’ve surrounded myself with about four half filled mugs of tea, several empty packets of crisps and its pitch black outside so I’ve lost my day. Instead of switching off the computer and do something else I’ll play a couple of more games, read some more articles or just mindlessly refresh Facebook until it’s 3am, my eyes are hurting me and even though I should be exhausted I can’t sleep because I’ve barely moved all day!) so I tell myself one more game in the hopes that I’ll just eventually switch off and at almost 4 in the morning I am unconscious only to get up at 9am and repeat the cycle!
This weekend after I purchased a new router to improve on the heap of crap that came with the initial broadband package we bought I accidentally screwed up the settings and not only did I manage to mess up the new router but whatever I did meant that even going back to the old one didn’t work and so Friday night at 9pm I was left stranded on a bank holiday without access to the online world – no gaming, no social networks, no e-mails…nothing!
Waking up Saturday morning and after a failed attempt at reaching tech support I recognised my fate and set about trying to fill my time however non-Internet people do so. The greatest shock that came to me wasn’t how much I was missing out on by ignoring my other hobbies like running, table top roleplaying, reading and even baking (No one makes a cheesecake better than I do!), it was that time moved so much slower than I realised and I wasn’t desperately climbing the walls and vibrating violently. I found myself sleeping better and waking up more alert with energy. In saying that though I felt completely cut off from the world I had built online and I was eager to have it back.
Ask yourself how many hours a week you spend online? How many times do you refresh Facebook or Tumblr in a single hour? The one thing I have taken from all of this is that the Internet is a vacuum that soaks up every single second and without realising it you can and you will lose a day, a week or month.
I’m not saying it’s the internets fault, hell it’s our own decision to logon and surf nor am I saying that I have seen the light and err of my ways!
It is easy to become addicted to anything that we love but like alcohol, gambling or whatever vices you dabble in everything is fun in moderation and so I have promised myself that I would spend more of my time offline than online because as much fun as my life in Runeterra or Azeroth is there is plenty more stuff for gamers and geeks to do – so even if it’s an hour out of your scheduled internet time take a break from it and look beyond the four walls of your internet world!