Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Net-heads

According to Stanford researchers, a heck of a lot of Americans are hopelessly addicted to the Internet. As much I hate the language of addiction, which always seems to miss the real point, reading this article was sort of a relief! Not only because my hour or so a day isn't as bad as the 30 hours a week some people are up to (!), but because I've been watching for some time as my generation turns into Net Zombies. The computer labs at Mall University are always packed, and the libraries are usually empty, except for their computer stations! And has anyone noticed that it used to be a hell of a lot easier to get people together for potlucks, meetings, clubs and other sorts of real-life participation?

I don't want to draw any conclusions here, but has anyone also noticed that this study comes after a series of 2006 studies telling us that my generation can't read very well, can't do basic math, doesn't take any part in civic life, and can hardly be bothered to vote or date? It's all coincidence, right? Just like when people in the 1950s warned that TV would cause literacy rates to decline. We all know that was a bunch of nonsense, right?

But, seriously, have their been any real cultural benefits to having an Internet generation yet?

2 comments:

Hiromi said...

When I had a job that involved a lot of sitting in front of the computer, I spent hours and hours on the internet to keep myself from going insane. First of all, this damn company frowned upon workers interacting and talking to each other and frowned on reading as well, and second, when you're waiting for your next bit of work, what else you going to do?

I wouldn't just go on raw numbers. Those numbers need to be put into perspective. If I spend five hours a day Mon-Fri on the internet during work -- and trust me, it's possible to do this without harming productivity if you're a smart person doing a monkey's job or if there's simply a lot of downtime for you -- but then do other shit later, there's really no problem.

Rufus said...

Yeah, well it's definitely a lot better than most other ways of killing time in that case. I got the feeling from the article that they were looking at how much people surf the net in their free time, but maybe not.