Hello. My name is Chris and I’m an internet addict.
It started out innocently enough. As a child I was handed an AOL disc to try it for free; but then it ran out and I wanted – needed – more. The games, the lights, the information, the contact, they seemed so real.
It wasn’t like my school did much to help. Instead of helping me kick my addiction it was encouraged. My teachers would all say, “Go home, research this. It will all be on the web.” I was entangled.
It continued into university when I started experimenting with the hard stuff; Wi-Fi. Anywhere, day or night, no wires to hold me back, this stuff was intoxicating how could anyone say no? And it was free. Talk about getting hooked, I didn’t even have to dial-up my dealer.
For four long, glorious years the internet was my best friend. Living in the USA and away from home it was my sanctum, a way to relax in hard times, to help get me ready for my studies and to speak to people on the other side of the world. It was magic.
I used it with friends, on my own, on the road, in my room, basically anywhere I could get my hands on it, I would use it. But one day I saw my reflection in my laptop. It was four in the morning and I was surfing, bleary-eyed. What was wrong with me? What had I become?
It needed to stop. A lap top, my phone, my iPod, I had too much. Where would it end? Lying in a ditch stealing someone’s Wi-Fi as they had no security system? Was that me?
No. I would change.
I went cold turkey. To take notes in class I found these ancient tools called a pen and a notepad, to call home they had things called landlines and to do research they had a massive building with shelves and these kindle-like objects that were made out of paper but instead of scrolling down you had to turn pages.
But I have to admit that I still got a tingle of excitement when someone’s email would beep, Facebook alert would go off or someone’s Twitter chirped. I was lying to myself. I needed it.
It was then, though, I realised the internet needed me as well. It had so much to give and wanted someone to share it with. I wasn’t using the internet – we were partners.
Together we were helping each other understand the world. The internet would provide me with the knowledge I needed and I was the internet’s eyes and ears constantly keeping it up-to-date with what was going on in the real world.This isn’t addiction. This is a long-term committed relationship.
We need each other.