Dependencies in the modern world

Jamie Barrows

Internet Addiction

Last week I was on vacation. The place I went was up in the hills and too far out for DSL or Cable internet access. So I was stuck with very limited dial up as my only choice for internet access. I had forgotten how incredibly slow the internet is when you are stuck on dial up. It was so slow, that I really couldn’t use it for much beyond simple email. So in effect I had no Internet access for the whole week.

Until I didn’t have it, I really had no idea how dependent on Internet access my daily life had become. Being without Internet access was a real problem. Every time I wanted to do or know anything, I would want to look it up online. But I couldn’t. Directions, movie times, restaurants, schedules, orders, maps, and just general communications. I had to try to remember how I would have found the info without Internet access. Sometimes, I just decided it wasn’t worth knowing or finding out because it would be too much trouble to get whatever info I wanted.

I’m so used to having all of the info available to me online, that I don’t even realize how often I use the Internet. I use the it for all my banking, planning, scheduling, news, and communications. I also use it for general trivia and curiosity whenever I see or hear something I want to know more about. Without it, I felt lost and cut off. Sure I have a cell phone on which I could call anyone I wanted. And the place I was staying at had satellite TV. If I wanted news, I could pick up a newspaper or watch TV any time I wanted. But it wasn’t the same.

I couldn’t read a headline or hear a news blurb, and look up 30 different stories on the topic or event. I couldn’t instantly look up historical background on the city, company, person, nation, or item in the story. Even worse, I couldn’t get the story reported from several different political, social, and demographic points of view. All the news I got was limited and filtered through a few mainstream outlets.

If I wanted to go somewhere I had never been, I needed to ask someone for directions rather than simply looking it up. I’m so used to looking up directions online before going somewhere, that I don’t even own a map anymore and I almost never ask someone for directions. I usually just ask for an address.

I had to call places to find out times and schedules because the information wasn’t right there in front of me just a search away. Movie times, store opening times, calendar events. Even phone numbers for stores and businesses. I had to discover all over again how to find things in a phone book(a huge pain in the neck). All the info I needed was either unavailable or had to be discovered in ways I don’t normally use.

This whole problem kind of surprised me because I hadn’t really realized how dependent I was on the Internet for everything I do and learn now. To think that just 10 years ago, I was barely using it for email, and now I have trouble functioning without it. It makes me think I may be just a little too dependent on it. I guess I’m sort of addicted.

So how necessary is the internet to your daily life?

2 Responses to “Dependencies in the modern world”

  • Bill Says:

    Hah, great picture! Well let’s see. I am beginning to get throbbing pain in the wrists (carpul tunnel) due to computer use. So I’m breaking down and doing things in a more conventional way. Maybe listen to my phone messages via the phone instead of the PC, receive directions from people instead of maps.google.com. No more games. Less browsing.

    So as of December ’06, vacations are a way to get completely away from the computer. It wasn’t that way 24 months ago. I was packing up my PC and I’d take it to the cabin or whatever!

  • Dependencies – A new one | The Online Rant Says:

    [...] few years ago I wrote a post on here about modern dependencies. In that post, I was referring to Internet access and how dependent I had become. And now I have [...]

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