Jan 182009
 
Transparent version of :Image:Nintendo DS Lite...
Image via Wikipedia

“What are you doing girls?” I asked the twins.

“Shhh Dad, we’re connecting,” came the distracted reply.

They were sitting in the living room heads burried in the Nintendo DS consoles they’d got for Christmas, playing the same game, together but apart. On one level the remote interaction, using portable electronic devices to communicate and collaborate in real time, is a really important skill for them to develop — on another it’s worryingly antisocial and all consuming. Trying to get their attention while they’re immersed in a game or engrossed in a wireless instant messaging chat with each other (even though they’re in the same room) is disturbingly difficult.

It’s a sign of the times… technology is bringing us closer together, but at the same time its pushing us further apart,  diluting the need for real human contact.

Via the internet it’s now easier than ever to connect, share and communicate via media that by their very nature transcend physical barriers like geography and time zones. Always on, high speed access to the internet is fundamentally changing the way a whole generation of people do everything, from Christmas shopping to chatting with their grandma on the other side of the world.

The rise of the internet to become a dominant force in practically all of our lives is unprecedented. According to Internet World Stats in June 2008 there were a staggering 1.46 billion people online. That’s 21% of the human population — and it’s still growing at a phenomenal rate! Even if you don’t own a computer, have never sent an e-mail, and never want to, the influence of the internet in your life is profound. How so?
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Jan 102009
 
Internet Addict
Image by husin.sani via Flickr

Always on internet should come with a Government Health Warning.

No, seriously, it should!

I’m sitting here at daft o’ clock in the morning writing this blog post wondering where the time went to.

My wife is away for a couple of nights, the kids went to bed almost eight hours ago and are sound asleep, and I should be too… but I’m not.

Why? Because we have always on internet, that’s why. I’m not going to call it broadband… because to do so would give it delusions of grandeur, but it is, demonstrably, always on.

And that means I’m always on. On the laptop, on the netbook, on the WiFi enabled mobile.

…must sleep. Kids will wake up early regardless and I won’t be able to cope if I don’t get four or five hours in. Will finish up tomorrow :-)

Rightmorning all!

Woken up at 7:30 by the little one. Don’t even want to reflect on how little sleep I’ve actually had. Looks like I’m running on caffeine today folks!

Now… where was I… oh yes, always on internet.

It’s like heroin… only worse, because while getting your fix online might make you look a bit geeky, it doesn’t have the same stigma attached to it as hard narcotics. At least not yet. But it is addictive, and if it’s suddenly taken away you do go into a kind of withdrawal.

But wait, you cry, while it might be an insidious habit, unlike a drug addiction it won’t lead you down a spiral of deceit and criminal activity to get your next virtual-hit, will it? I’m not so sure. Hands up how many people out there have casually hooked up to a conveniently unsecured wireless network “just to check e-mail”, or a profile page, or twitter or whatever?

It’s a slippery slope.

So, I’m thinking of starting a new group — perhaps on facebook (lol) — welcome to Internet Addicts Anonymous (IAA). To kick things off, I’ll go first:

My name is Calvin Jones and I’m a always-on-internet-oholic.

Admitting it is the hardest part — go on, try it for yourself in the comments below, it’s cathartic. I feel better already :-).

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