The irony in promoting internet abstinence

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Image via Rodion Kutsaev

The people who argue to resist the internet are its biggest culprits, myself included.

How can something so good become so addictive and bad? Says the author of Irresistible Adam Alter, who openly admits his own email obsession:

“We’re biologically prone to getting hooked on these sorts of experiences. If you put someone in front of a slot machine, their brain will look qualitatively the same as when they take heroin.”

In promoting abstinence, the anti-internet promoters are really trying to help themselves. Writing or speaking about the resistance, are tools for coping.

If sitting is the new smoking, technology is like binging on alcohol. The New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat proposes that schools should prohibit computers from schools, saying “let them play in the real before they’re enveloped by the virtual.”

Like everything else, screen time needs to be moderated. Until then, writing about web addiction seems to be in contradiction with the practice of publishing it — we can’t upload our work without signing in online; in the same way, we can’t take a picture or pay for a cup of coffee without pulling our phones. Smartphones are the ultimate convergence machine, and we are its slaves, using expression as self-help.

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