If you spend more than 6 hours daily online then you are addicted to the internet, according to studies done in China. Opinions vary greatly on the subject. Some people don’t even believe you can be addicted to the web, or that it is really a bad thing.
It seems to me that a lot of the Chinese studies on the topic may be pretty biased, due to their beliefs about the web and web restrictions. However the fear of web addiction has made it’s way over to this side of the world too..but why?
I think the biggest contributor to this kind of thinking in the US and Canada has to do with people believing that getting out and enjoying some old fashion fresh air is a much better way to spend one’s time than cooped up in a room on the computer.
For some reason when people talk about this, they always seem to paint the picture of some overweight guy in a dark windowless basement hacking away at his computer with a hot pocket and a Slurpee next to him, like you could turn into him if you spend too many Saturday nights surfing. This is their worst fear.
To the contrary, the web can help you educate yourself about better eating habits, exercises, sports, and other things that can contribute to a healthier life.
It’s pretty sad when people (mostly of the older persuasion) misjudge, and underestimate the amazingness of surfing the web.
Sure playing a saturday pickup game is great, and going to a BBQ is a great way to socialize, but honestly, when you consider all of the possible knowledge to be gained on the internet, not to mention all of the real interaction you can have, it doesn’t make sense to limit yourself only to your surrounding area.
The web has the ability to open people up to the world. It’s like watching a Planet Earth Documentary. It can show you things you would have never in a million years dreamt about, and it can teach you about them. It’s the ultimate when it comes to expanding one’s horizons.
Sure not everybody uses the web to gain useful knowledge. Some people are addicted to things like online poker, or buying things on ebay, but the potential for the amazing growth of knowledge, and at such high speeds, far over-shadows any negative that could potentially prevent it from occuring.
The internet doesn’t shut you out from the world, it simply brings the world to you..pretty much all of it. It takes you places you can’t go in real life. A great example would be touring the Pyramids and the Sphinx with infinite resolution on Photosynth. It’s literally the next best thing to actually being there. The detail is amazing!
I think as the web ages, and innovation rates increase, we will start to see a change in the mindset of people who believe the web does not enhance our lives. For me, there’s never too much. I’d like to see the progress made when everything we do in some way is tied to this vastly powerful matrix of information.
I think it’s time we stop focusing on how technology makes people lazy, and start realizing that tremendous amounts of work can get done by simply sitting on the couch with a laptop. Of course, going to the gym every once in a while doesn’t hurt either..
Written by: Dante Cullari, Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC