Internet Addiction: The New Carnival


The preacher looking dude above is Howard Beale from the movie “Network,” which I actually have never seen all the way through, but its in my Blockbuster cue. Throughout the film though, he makes a lot of powerful statements about how we percieve our world and how we allow ourselves to be influenced by it.

If you click on his picture, it will take you to a page that has a speech he delivers to people (this happens after his “I’m as mad as hell” speech earlier in the film) both in video and in text format (for people with slow internet like me). Be mindful, because the speech has a couple swears in it.

The idea behind the speech is that he tells the audience and everyone watching, that as a society we allow TV to tell us what to believe and what the truth is. He says:

“Television is not the truth. Television’s a damn amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players.”

And the internet has become the new Television.

You know what I’m talking about. You sit there on the internet, getting entertained. You go on YouTube for hours on end watching funny videos without even knowing. You go on Facebook or Myspace or Twitter and you want to know what your friends are doing, and how they’re responding to what you’re doing. You’re talking to them online via one of the many chat softwares out there. You’re reading this blog, and probably a few others over the course of the week (like I do) and will likely spend hours doing that as well.

The internet has become the new carnival. Full of its fair share of circus clowns acrobats, scantilly clad ladies and death defying acts.

And if its affecting your life negatively, its one of those evil kinds of Carnivals. You know the really creepy ones like in the movies, where you know something is wrong but you can’t put your finger on it.

Yeah, those kind.

So how do you stop the madness?  Well Howard says, “Turn them off!”

That’s right. Shut the dang computer off and live life. Get the heck out from behind the keyboard and go out there and see life. I talked a bit about this in my interview, but I thought it was a propos for one good reason.

I spent 2 hours today putzing around online.

I got a lot of things done today, don’t get me wrong (cleaned the kitchen, the bedroom, did 3 loads of laundry, and helped my wife with her jewelry business). But I spent more time online than I should have.

Imagine what I could have done with that 2 hours! I have a book that I want to get out the door, and I can’t even take the time to do that.

My point is the same as Howard’s: Get out from behind the monitor and do something with your life. Once you spend your time, you can’t get it back. So before you allow yourself to waste anymore of your life, let me give you a Personal Development Plan for this.

1. Make a list of all the things you wished you could do if you had enough time.

2. Make it a goal to spend only 1/2 hour online. If you can’t do that, then figure out what would be a reasonable time. If going cold turkey works, great! If not, choose to start somewhere and set a goal for yourself.

3. Anytime you feel like spending more than a half hour online, refer to your list and do something from it.

This is just one component of my Internet Addiction model: RAM. The “A” stands for Aversion, meaning do your best to avert yourself from going online. The key to Aversion is giving yourself purpose and finding other things to do with your time rather than wasting it.

So shut the computer off. Seriously. Life is out there waiting for you to live it.

Stop existing. Start Living.

Let me know what you think. I’m all ears!