Today I am going to reflect on the growing addiction of spending time online. The growth of digitization has provided everything at our fingertips. I have personally experienced the urge to buy things that I do not need from popular e commerce sites. And this urge does not go away on its own, it only goes away through motivated actions. You have to work hard to get over it like any other form of addiction. I personally tend to spend several hours scrolling through these websites searching for products that I think I need, and then add them to the cart, only to ponder hard later about their utility. I try hard to find excuses to justify the potential purchase, looking for a reason to give in to that buying urge. At times, I manage to decipher that it is all trap and I close the website. However, at times, I do go through the purchase and end up with the things that I do not need.
Spending time over YouTube is also a similar experience. Watching videos after videos without any purpose. Watching even when you don’t want to, and not being able to snap out of that viewing. If this all sounds familiar to you, then you would agree with me about taking concrete actions to stop this habit.
How bad is online addiction?
Though spending time online appears a perfectly normal endeavor, however, when I try to look for the opportunity loss in it, I find it huge. What troubles me is that you never realize how better off you could have been without it. You do not even know what you are losing because the loss is the lack of growth. I feel the most valuable commodity that we have is time and we seem to care least about how we are using it. Even smart individuals are in a dilemma about using their time in the most efficient way. They think that they would fall behind (so to speak) if they do not remain updated with the goings on in the online world and thus fall prey to the information overload. It is a catch it or lose it situation, we are made to believe. My experience is that most people are gullible nomads in the online world, and they are being used or lured by people who create digital experiences.
An average person spends a huge amount of time surfing net, watching videos on YouTube, and surfing e commerce sites. And all of this is happening because he has nothing else to do. Please understand I am not talking about people who come online to solve a problem. I am talking about people who spend time online. The concept of “spending time” should be reserved to offline world because that is still the real and more fulfilling world. The online world is a world that is meant to solve real world problems. We must use social media to grow and not become a commodity ourselves.
What change should we bring to our online experience?
We must ensure that we are leveraging online world to solve problems. By solving a problem, we might mean learning an online course, gaining perspective, watching informative videos, buying things that we need, connecting where we need to. Different people can moderate their behavior differently. We just need to ensure that the online world must be driven by our needs, and that it shouldn’t drive our needs. Let’s create clear segregation between these two worlds. And let’s give a clear priority to the real world.
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