Monday, July 22, 2013

Internet Addiction

Two factors have forced me to face something about myself that I'd like to deny.

First, my laptop is at Best Buy right now, getting cleaned up and taking advantage of that warrantee I bought when I got it. I miss my dear computer. Sure, Mom's computer is almost the same in look and function. But even if I had full access to it, it's still not mine. The mailbox isn't synced with my two gmails. The background isn't that pretty screenshot from Nabari no Ou. Safari's homepage isn't my email account. If I want to access my documents, I have to insert my memory stick. If I want Twitter, I have to log out of Mom's account (not that she actually uses it) and log myself in. I don't know if Mom remembers her Twitter password, so I'm playing it safe so my password doesn't replace hers.

I'm not sure if I'll get my computer back in the next couple days, or if I'll leave it there long enough to replace the battery. The battery doesn't need replacement yet... but again, I want to take full advantage of the warrantee, the battery should already be on its way to my house, and I can't replace the battery in my Mac on my own.

Another thing has happened in the past few days: we've returned to our old internet service, one with a limited amount of gigs we can use per billing cycle. I still haven't figured out what that means for how much anime I can consume and how many hours I can spend on Facebook games. I'm not the only one in the house who uses the internet, after all. I think my regular usage would be fine, but it's not my money at risk, so I want to play it extra safe.

Between missing my computer and being wary of internet consumption, I've been forced to examine my habits. Thus, I've come to the conclusion that I might be a wee bit addicted to the internet. Okay, so I definitely am. When I'm awake, I'm rarely off the net for more than four or five hours, especially if I'm at home. Even if it's just for a few minutes, I feel the urge to check Blogger, Facebook, or Twitter.
I think a picture of the principal from Danganronpa is
fitting for a post about being held captive, whether
I've been trapped by the internet or a stuffed bear.

I should take advantage of this time without my computer. It's a great opportunity to be purposeful with my time, without the constant temptation of my laptop. Maybe I should go to the library and unearth the bookworm in me. Before I got my first laptop and unlimited access to anime, I would speed through several books in a week, or even a day, especially in the summer. Now, I've only read two novels in the past month, and those only because they were given to me. If I want to write professionally, shouldn't I spend a little more time reading, and a little less time online?

Notice that I used the word "should" three times in that last paragraph, instead of the more binding word "will." I haven't even fully admitted that I have a problem with unwise internet usage.

Perhaps I'll pay more attention to myself if I remember what else my unwise time management has cost: my time with God. It's cost my devotional time. It's kept me from serving Him by serving my family. It's allowed some of my skills to become stagnant at best, and atrophied at worst. When I allow the internet to capture me for hours on end, when I can't go a few hours without the compulsion to go online, I'm keeping myself from a full life. Where's my self-control?

Let's see... strong compulsion to go online... apparent inability to disengage from the internet once I'm on... inability to prioritize responsibilities over internet time... I hate to admit it, but I'm fairly addicted to the internet. Sure, it's not as bad as the days when I regularly spent four to eight hours on anime each day, self-medicating myself with the stimulation and escape it provided. I've improved a lot over the past couple years. But it's still not good.

Perhaps it's time to cultivate better habits, habits that include more sleeping, journaling, reading, writing, and cleaning. I have a journal entry that explored how to do that. Perhaps I should return to the entry and take my own advice. Maybe even rewrite it and post it, to gain some accountability. My internet time will be more fulfilling if I go about it with self-control.

It's time to break free and stop letting my internet compulsions control me.

Now, the above sentence sounds really good, and I'd like to end on that note. But that would imply that I'm actually going to do something about it, and I don't want to lie, even indirectly. I may or may not actually change this time. I'm tired, and not in the best state to make a commitment, even to myself - especially to myself. But I will revisit this topic before the week is over. That is a commitment I can keep.

*Screenshot from Danganronpa ep 1. Laptop edited by me, original image from a free use site I discovered. :)


  1. That last paragraph made me chuckle knowingly XD
    I know you've read my post on a similar topic where i've come to different conclusions.
    Perhaps i'm playing the role of the devil on your shoulder here, but as I say in my article I think it's perfectly fine to enjoy the things you enjoy. Though I do admit that there's a fine line between pathological addiction and extreme fondness (for lack of a better term), until you are actively shirking your responsibilities to yourself or others you don't have a problem as far as I am concerned. You can't just choose to change what you enjoy doing, and to be honest I don't think you should. As part of your internet activities you write and maintain a blog, as well as interacting with other, real people, which are both very healthy habits.
    To finish off: [Insert obligatory "Ugh...Mac..." comment]

    1. I tend to agree with you about it being fine to spend time on what you enjoy just for enjoyment's sake. Usually, blogging and online social interactions are perfectly healthy. But even those lose their healthiness a couple hours past midnight. Not to mention the days that I completely lose track of time just browsing pictures and sites that I don't even enjoy that much. I think if I structure my time a little better and set limits for myself, I will feel much more satisfied. I might not spend much less time online, but I'd be more purposeful about it... that's the idea, at least.

      Part of this comes from what my really cool Bible professor said when we were studying Ecclesiastes. That's the book where the "There's a time for everything" verses come from. So my prof (a grey-haired, traditional, conservative man) recommends not stressing about getting A's all the time and, instead, structuring time for rest and fun. His personal escape is video games, and has been since his own college days. I've been a bit of a perfectionist in my past studies, so it was a blessing to hear him say that during my first semester of college, as the responsibilities of both college and adulthood began to surface.

    2. Sounds like a cool professor XD
      I guess that it's easier for me to not do too much of anything because i'm always acutely aware of what i'm planning to do next. I'm a creature of habit, so I usually know what i'm going to spend my free time doing hours in advance.

    3. I, on the other hand, have poor time management skills (it's partially an ADD thing). I have to be purposeful about being purposeful with my time, and purposeful about being aware of time. I'm slowly getting better. To-do lists and schedules no longer look like intimidating lists of ways to fail the way they once did, at least. ^_^


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