Are We Too Connected?

I remember spending my childhood being oblivious to the rest of the world and its existence. The concept of another country seemed rather magical, adventurous and mystifying.

I think I must have been around 11 when my dad bought our very first 28k modem. He plugged it in, installed all the relevant paraphernalia and set us up. I will never forget that anticipatory culmination of dial tones, beeping, buzzing, bouncing and scratching that eventually ended with you being connected to the rest of the world.

Just make sure everyone in the house knew NOT to pick up the phone – aargh, that was annoying.

Surfing the internet was such a mind-blowing experience. Having access to so much information was unbelievable. The main problem though was the awful speeds. Loading up basic content would take forever, not to mention pictures downloading in choppy segments.

That was annoying when trying to look at risque pictures before the folks burst into the room.

As far as I can remember, my very first introduction into online socialism was a chat program called MIRC. You would sign in with a username, log into different chat groups and just talk to people who were usually at the opposite end of the world. You would often initiate a conversation with ASL, just to see if there was common ground between you.

At this point, you would only spend a very small portion of your life and time online. It hadn’t moulded itself into our everyday lives as of yet.

Fast-forward 20 years and it’s scary to see how much the online realm has crept into our physical one. I admittedly spend way too much time online. Posting videos, photos and statuses in hopes that someone out there may appreciate it.

Why do I crave this instant gratification and this NEED to be connected? 

I’ll often find myself sitting on my phone and I’ll look over to my boys and think, “Shit, I really need to get off and spend time with them,” and I’ll make a half-arsed effort and then find myself creeping back to my phone. It’s an addiction with consequences.

Hi my name’s Brad and I have been www-free for all of 0 minutes…

I mean, do we really need to be checking social media whilst on the toilet? I guess for most of us parents, it’s the only quiet place to catch up on everything. Well, until the kids come barging in, naturally.

Studies have revealed that we spend an average of 2 hours, 51 minutes each day online. That equates to 1,197 minutes (or 19.5 hours) a week, and 62,244 minutes (or 1.037.4 hours) a year. It’s alarming to see how integral being connected is to our existence. We are the NOW people: I want it NOW, I need it NOW, it needs to be done NOW. 

The frightening aspect is that each day we find more and more reasons to be connected which means those figures are only going to go upwards.

Looking at those numbers I know I need to find a way to reduce them. I need to find a way to be more productive with my time online to ensure I get as much done without needlessly “surfing the net” so that I can start focusing more on my physical realm and let the online one suffer for a change.

Brad Nagle is a London-based blogger and vlogger. This article was originally published on Dear Agony Dad, and has been republished with permission.

See more cartoons at “Dabney and Dad” cartoons are created by Paul Merklein.


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