I imagine that with regular addictions you at least get some sort of reward, some gratification, a sense of satisfaction, call it what you want. You take the pill, whatever the pill means in your case, and you feel happy. Not that you truly are happy, but at least you feel this way, even if only for a split second.
Regular addictions (if there’s anything regular about any of them) destroy you, take away whatever you have in life, take control, but at least you get to be high, stoned, drunk, orgasmic, happy, false happy but still happy. You get an emotion, a sensation. Then you lose your life, literally if you’re lucky.
Quite different with the internet addiction. Facebook and the rest of (not so) social media, staying connected, wired, yes wired’s better (which means it’s worse), going online, checking, updating… these work differently. Online doesn’t kill you, not as often, not in an obvious way. It doesn’t take away your life, it doesn’t stop it. Worse yet, it hits the pause button instead (in a way). You have a life, it’s right there, but you no longer live it. You live online. No, strike that. You live pretty much as you did before, but you no longer experience what you live (if it makes any sense). You do something or something happens to you, just the same as it did before you got connected to the web and you get nothing out of it. Not unless you take it online. Your feet are on the ground, life goes by all around and you choose (knowingly or not) to go online to experience it. Or at least to pretend you experience it.
Baby’s born – this is going to look great on your facebook. You travel to Asia – you are so going to tweet about this. New dress – a must on your instagram. You get bored – let’s see what’s up with other people. Think about this. When you get bored, you do nothing to kill the boredom other than go online to see what’s going on with the world, to see what other people are doing while you should be the one doing something. And you don’t even get any sense of reward, no usual addict’s state of getting high, just frustration and hunger. It’s like drinking to get drunk but instead you go straight to hangover. You keep scrolling through your facebook feed wall or checking your likes and notifications hoping to find some sort of fulfillment but it never comes. The feeds do feed you but it goes to nothing as the hunger lingers if not grows.
You can also compare it to having a movie in your DVD but instead of watching it you hit pause and read endless reviews of other movies or even write your own reviews of the movie you never watched.
With regular addictions you can always fight them. You can quit. You can try. With the internet you can’t, not without serious consequence. It’s like with cars, phones, air travel and plastic money. You can stop using them but in the end it will make your life noticeably more difficult, if not miserable.
This is the world today. This is life. Constant intake of the www drug which is so hard to live with (really live, a real non virtual life, that is) and pretty much impossible to without. At some point you get miserable either way. Good luck to us all and God (whatever god you acknowledge) help our tech-native children.