If you are one of those people who will not go to a café if it does not advertise “Free Wifi”, know that you are not alone. A 2013 study showed that on average 12% of the US population showed signs of Internet addiction.
As a proud Nokia user, I have often endured gently mocking comments about my old school phone. I always defend myself by saying it is it cheaper—and less heart-breaking— because I have a tendency to break phones once every 6 months. But in total honesty, I would love a smartphone. The problem is I know I would be totally addicted to it, obsessively taking pictures, sending Snapchats or checking my social media. And yet, even as I write this article on the floor 1 level of the library (that’s right, the one which blocks Facebook) I took out my trusty Nokia to check my account. Even with a little Nokia, I have Internet access.
With social media being so addictive, how much time we are really wasting? More so, how much are we slacking?
Back in the day when the Internet was not around, in school, instead of semi-plagiarising a Wikipedia or SparkNotes summary plot, did that mean that people had to—gasp!—read all the books set in class? Instead of reading other essays online, did students have to construct their own arguments instead of drawing inspiration from the web?
Now of course, all this is to be taken with a pinch of salt. Information has never been so readily available, thanks to, for example Google Academic to locate quotes or the Gutenburg Project to read books online. I for one am not ready to give up on my Wikipedia habit when I start writing a project—even if it is only to check a novel’s publication date.
The Internet is not all bad. It might seem counterintuitive to use the Internet to control your Web problem, but here are some examples of websites and application that can help you turn your online addiction against itself:
1. RescueTime shows you how much time you’ve been spending on the Internet and what on. If you have a major procrastination and/or focus problem, that could be enough to scare yourself into working!
2. Write Room for Mac or Dark Room for Windows narrow down your computer’s functions to just writing. Efficient!
3. Self-Control, which when downloaded for Mac, can block the websites of your choice. Now, be honest, that means Facebook AND Twitter. And you could throw in Instagram or Spotify for good measure.
4. You could try the website www.facebooklimiter.com, to, well, limit Facebook!
Otherwise, in the paying category, you could try:
5. Freedom, which blocks you from surfing on the web for up to eight hours.
6. Anti-Social, that denies access to “fun” websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and whatever other site you may specify.