Internet Is The New Reading

I have been carrying this thought around for quite some time now. The thought is that modern day obsession with Internet is actually a modification of the good old reading obsession that goes back to late middle ages.

Then some young ladies or young gentlemen (more and more of them as time passed by) spent their days reading books instead of engaging in more active, well, activities. It was fashionable (among elite) in those distant days to be home schooled – it was the only way to get basic education and be able to go to university or just be relevant in higher class circles.

That is why ladies were learning their geography and French while gentlemen were studying law and history. Well, I am making this up on the spot as, come to think about it, both genders probably studied those subjects. And they most certainly studied religion, the Holy Bible (Remember how some Anne Radcliff heroines were fascinated by those incredible adventures?).

Anyways, young generation spent so much time buried under piles of books – they opened a whole new world to themselves, a world of fantasy, a world of unknown countries and places, a source of the most stunning stories they could never hope to be involved in during their sad, isolated, and boring lives (If they were proud aristocrates too proud to spend time with peasants and too scared to get out and live their lives in a dangerous world outside their parents’ castle).

Today we have Internet to fill in. Books got boring with television conquering every household. How can words compare to actual events? Even if those events happen to somebody else? Whoever the hero, you got to witness adventure! We lost all hope to get young generation to read and write (well, not that radically probably).

And Internet ruined the success of television. As time goes by more and more opportunities are opened online: you can shop online, you can find information on almost any subject online, you can watch any video you want online, you can buy music and films, you can steal music and films, you can get any scoop on anything, you can communicate with any person at any location on Earth if they have Internet down there.

And with the newest era of Internet getting far more instant than it originally used to be news are spread most effictively via online distributors. Also, Internet seems to be far more convenient than a regular newspaper or a magazine as you can get your news for free, from as many sources as you like and verify it in so many various ways.

Also, just think how a single person these days can actually make an impact! Everyone can open a blog, a facebook group, contact media etc. I blame Internet for Arabic revolutions (Egypt, Tunis, Bahrein, Libya) – people down there were able to get information about the actual real-life experience behind vague concepts of democracy, freedom of speech, human rights.

I am not here to praise all the possibilities Internet allows (although I do realize I sound like it). I want to defend (just a tiny bit) poor Internet users who have been labelled ‘addicts’.

Psychological nature of Internet ‘addiction’ is actually the same (in my humble opinion) as that of reading. When a person reads they get lost in the worlds of their imagination, in experiences and feelings they never really encountered. Maybe some of you can remember how your parents told you to quit that book and go outside for a walk as you are hurting your eyes by excessive reading? Do you? Because I do.

So when I hear people saying that Internet is killing our health: our eyes, our body (hypodynamia), let alone our psycho, – I just want to object: we did experience all that with reading, didn’t we? We have to continue to excersise, do breaks, try to handle Internet as we did reading but there is no need to talk about addiction.

Addicted to what specifically? Internet is just too versatile to define. Some do get addicted to certain activities but don’t blame the means, blame the real reason – that exact kind of activity Internet suggests that is addictive, not Internet itself.

Let’s take a brief look at the nature of addiction. There are three basic components to every addiction: 1) constant desire to engage in addictive activity (basically, the whole life of an addicted person is rotating right around their addictive activity – everything is done to one goal: engage in desired acitity), 2) neglect of one’s responsibilities (showing up late for work, missing appointments, losing track of time while engaging in addictive activity), 3) inability to enjoy any othert activity besides the addictive one.

Now, how many Internet ‘addicts’ show all three of the listed above symptoms?

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