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Internet addiction has serious consequences

The Internet. Everyone’s two favorite words when it comes to homework, free time and papers. Everyone’s but mine that is.

You think that’s absurd, I know. I mean, with the Internet we have the ability to e-mail others around the world with just one click of a button.

We converse with people states away from us through AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo. We spend countless hours surfing its never-ending depths for information we might otherwise have to look up in books.

So what’s the problem? Well, the Internet, as handy as it may seem when downloading free music and other people’s published term papers, has made lesser technologies like mail service and the telephone fade into the background.

Now I know half of you are saying to yourself ‘So what? Who cares?’ Well that’s part of the problem, ladies and gentleman, we simply don’t.

We don’t realize that hundreds of people are being laid off every year across the country because the Internet is taking their

jobs away.

We don’t care that we spend four to five hours vegetating in front of the computer, eating potato chips and whining about the new changes to Facebook.

According to the Boston Globe, nearly 30 million people use the Internet daily and I’m guessing most of them don’t reflect on the damages they’re causing to themselves and others by using it.

And like most people, I guarantee they don’t realize it’s slowly dominating their life.

Think about it. How many times have you turned down a trip to the library because you could find the information you needed on the Internet, even though a 12-year-old might have written it?

How many times have you just instant messaged someone down the hall, or even your own roommate for that matter, instead of actually carrying out a full-blown conversation?

What kind of message is this sending to people younger than us? What message will we be sending to future generations? Is America becoming so lazy that even a trip down the hallway to talk to a friend seems too far?

In the case of AOL Instant Messenger, one of the most popular features on the Web according to the New York Times, an estimated three fourths of all college campuses use this feature every single day to talk to someone they know, either from across the country or right here on campus.

I’m not saying stop using it completely, but rather than use it for every single circumstance, try picking up the phone and calling the person you care about.

Not only is it helping the phone companies and saving some of the jobs that the Internet has taken away, but it’s improving your social skills.

According to the U.S. Social Development Corporation, children’s social skills have been dropping since the creation of the free Internet due to their lack of face-to-face communication with their peers.

And what about search engines like Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves?

Oh, sure they make writing papers for Sociology and Biology ten times easier than it would be if you had to take a trip to the library instead, but how do you know your information is actually true?

There are Web sites out there that are credible, but most people don’t take the time or the effort to actually seek them out, myself included.

If you’re like me, then Wikipedia is probably one of your favorite research Web sites.

But instead of taking the easy way out next time, why not stop by the library on your way home from class and take out a book that you know contains information useful and factual that is relevant to your paper?

If that’s not reason enough, you’re guaranteed to wow your professors with the extra time you spent, which in turn might lead to a higher grade.

So where am I going with this? I am not saying that I think we should all go out and get an anti-Internet mob started. That seems a little drastic.

However, the next time you sign online to instant message a friend, why not just pick up the phone and call them instead? Instead of an e-mail, write a letter. Not only is it benefiting someone’s job, it’s more sentimental and will probably mean more to the person you’re sending it to.

Although the Internet seems to dominate out lives, we don’t have to let it. Step out of the box and make a difference in your world.

Send comments to Kristen Vasas at [email protected].

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