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I don’t believe in those e-things (or do I?)

Computer addiction: the new legal drug?Being a geek can be hard at times. You have thousands of ideas (mostly incredibly bad ones, the dangerous kind that it’s so bad it almost look good), start a project, but then hey, you really can’t be bothered with all the practical stuff, so drop it immediately thereafter for something even more exciting (which is usually just mucking about).

This is more or less mirrored by my use of the internet, thriving with billions of pieces of information, all linked together, sometimes without any logical scheme, and it’s easy to get lost. On time I was looking at the Napoleone Bonaparte page on Wikipedia and ended up reading about projects for the fourth generation nuclear power plants.

Let’s be honest: with all its mind-bogglingly possibilities, internet is anyway just another place to muck about. It’s always the same old story: the telephone allows you to communicate with people and hear their voices from all over the world, but then you will probably just call your buddy who lives two miles away and comment on the latest football match.

Today, Facebook is the most accessed website in the world, more than the Holy Google itself: it looks like people just can’t go on with their lives without knowing what pudding your cousin’s best friend’s brother in law ate this morning or what incredible, uberfun party your ex attended (and of course you weren’t invited to).

It’s really about our own nature: since the stone age and before those nice hairy ancestors of ours loved to live in small groups, communities, and now that we shave and our frenetic lives have cut out most of the leisure time, it’s just normal for technology to come in our aid providing us with new means to interact with people. I mean, of course nothing can compare to hanging out with your buddies for a beer, or dating your girlfriend, but in our fast paced life is good to be able to stay in touch with friends everywhere without too much of a hassle.

This however generated an unsettling issue: internet addiction. We have actual rehabilitation centres bristling with poor souls who are desperate for their internet fix. Twitter, Facebook, mySpace, Second Life: these are the new drugs of the third millennium. These addicts lose their jobs, their friends and give up on their real life in favour of a fake one where they can be someone else, erasing all the problems and not worrying about any consequence.

The question is: what’s the boundary between healthy and distorted? How can someone find out if he has a problem? How is it possible to help?
As always, education is probably the best way of dealing with these problems. In the globally connected world of today, kids (and adults as well) should be addressed with these issues, explaining how serious can be the consequences of an obsessed relation with the web. Family and friends can also provide invaluable aid to help those who already find themselves stuck in this vicious circle.

So, in the end, do I believe in those e-things?
No, I don’t believe in them and I don’t think they are as life-enhancing as they pretend to be, but I still take advantage of using them because they can be useful, and because with such small time to muck about, being a geek can just be hard at times.


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