I read an article in Newsweek (It always starts with an article, doesn’t it?) about research studies on internet addiction. Taken from the article: “A parallel study found similar changes [in internet addiction] in the brains of video game addicts. And both studies come on the heels of other Chinese results that link Intrenet addiction to “structural abnormalities in gray matter,” namely shrinkage of 10 to 20 percent in the area of the brain responsible for processing of speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory, and other information. And worse, the shrinkage never stopped: the more time online, the more the brain showed signs of ‘atrophy.’” So, what does this all mean?
Don’t worry. I’m not hyperventilating at my keyboard right now. I’m not making any goals to turn off the internet forever and become Amish, but it does get me thinking. How much time do I spend on the internet, from checking email to posting on Facebook? Have I noticed any changes in my behavior that would indicate that my internet use may play a small part in some kind of atrophy of my own?
Generally, I take a holistic approach to my life and anything that I think could be improved. If I’m not sleeping well at night, it could very well have to do with spending too much time on the internet (and the bright lights are messing with my Circadian rhythm). It could also be that I’m not exercising enough or I’m not eating healthy. It could be that I’m anxious about something and need to take steps (whether writing or praying) to work through that issue before bed.
However, before I even read this article, I have noticed that my ability to focus has suffered in the last few years especially. I notice that when I’m online, I have at least three or four windows up at a time. I noticed that I skim most articles instead of read them. After reading the article, I looked back and noticed when I spent a lot of time on the internet, my patience suffers. I lose my temper easily and I feel tired a lot.
So, I talked with Michael about it. I decided that for the next month, I’m going to stay off the computer on the weekends (with the exception of one Sunday when I need to set up the PowerPoint for church). That means no emails, no Facebook, no blogs, nothing. On the weekdays, I will stay off of the computer before 8 in the morning and after 8 at night (that way, it doesn’t affect work, and I will still have 3 hours after work to spend on personal sites).
This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge step for me. Hopefully, this intentional move will make me aware of just how much time I spend on the Internet, or even just how much I think about it. I’m nervous to take on this endeavor, but I know that it will be worth it.
Note: This should not affect my blog posting, and I am working on some new ideas that I hope to post soon!