There are days when I am riding the bus home from the train station and I see high school aged children looking at their phones, playing games and going online and I think to myself with wonder that these children have never known a day of their lives when there was not such a thing as The Internet. I have seen children sitting in groups having non-conversations in which words are exchanged but nobody is really listening, all the while updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts about the details of the exchanges that they aren’t really having. They simply can’t seem to peel their eyes away from their small computers in order to have any kind of real interaction with their friends. Now it seems that hardcore internet addiction may be entirely genetic.
If you are anything like me your first reaction might be to think, “How can that even be possible when there was no such thing as an Internet to which a person could be addicted until the last twenty or so years?” Well it turns out that the scientists who have pinpointed the genetic links to Internet addiction have found that the addiction comes from the same place, genetically speaking, that a person has when they are addicted to smoking.
I recently read (online, of course) that this actually makes sense, if you think about it. The average mobile phone is about the same size as a pack of cigarettes. A person will go back to wherever they were if they realize that they left their mobile phone behind. (Formerly their pack of cigarettes.) An addicted person will take special care of their mobile phone and will be cautious when allowing other people to use it. On top of all that, think about our cars — formerly, every car came with a cigarette lighter. Now in its place is an electrical outlet through which we can do what? Charge our phones — the new cigarettes.
I realize the irony of the following proposal given that you are more than likely reading this online (unless it was printed for you) however consider taking a twenty four hour break from the new smoking every once in awhile. As a Sabbath observant Jew I take a twenty five hour break from my computer and phone and I am quite glad to be away from it and to be forced to only have person to person interaction for that time period. You may find yourself appreciating the time you do spend on the computer if you force yourself to be away from it now and then.