Join Cynth, Jeff and Dan as they look at the Internet and how it has changed how we communicate and share. All links mentioned in the podcast are located at the bottom of this description.
Random “WOW! FACTS!”:
Did you know that there’s high speed internet available all the way up Mt. Everest?
Did you know that in 2010, Finland became the first country to declare internet access as a legal right? (Do you think internet access should be a human right?)
AND did you know that it is believed that the Internet will be the reason thousands of languages will go extinct? Apparently, only 5% of the worlds 7,700 languages are on the internet, which has experts claiming it will lead to the death of languages if they aren’t used on the platform.
As you can guess from the random facts already presented, today’s topic is probably one piece of technology that everyone uses on a daily basis, provided they have access to it, the Internet!
Thinking back 10,15 years ago when we were in high school. Do you remember when the internet first came to our schools and we were like WOW! But the schools didn’t trust that thing at all?
As we always do her on you me and tech, I like to give a little history lesson.
The basic history of the Internet: the concept of wide area networking originated in many computer labs in the US, UK and France since the development of computers in the 1950s. Commercial internet service providers started popping up in the late 1980, like AOL dial-up (providing email, instant messaging and web browser) in 1989.
- 1989: AOL dial-up service provider, email, instant messaging, and web browser
- 1990: IMDb
- 1995: Amazon.com
- 1996: Hotmail
- 1997: Babel Fish
- 1998: Google Search
- 1999: Napster
- 2001: BitTorrent
- 2001: Wikipedia
- 2003: LinkedIn
- 2004: Facebook
- 2005: YouTube
- 2006: Twitter
- 2007: WikiLeaks
- 2008: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
- 2009: Bing
- 2010: Instagram,
- 2011: Google+
- 2011: Snapchat
- 2012: Coursera, massive open online courses
What sort of things are you happy that the Internet has given us access to?
-Connectivity? Social Media?
What do we rely on the Internet for now or even over-rely on it for?
-Entertainment – More and more people use Netflix, Youtube, Twitch for their fun.
-Shopping -Has online shopping killed brick and mortar stores?
-Connectivity -Social Media is so big now that people can make millions just by having a lot of followers! (Brands sponsor them to advertise.)
The Internet is touted for bringing the world to our fingertips, wherever and whenever we want it. The main thing that the Internet has done is give humans a level of connectivity probably thought impossible 100 years ago. We are connected, not only instantly with anyone and everyone, but constantly (which as an introvert can be stupidly annoying sometimes to have people texting at all hours of the day, even after spending 5 hrs together in person!)
However, has either of you guys noticed a trend recently of people “taking a break” from the Internet, or social media? I have. I finally took the leap and jumped off the Facebook train a few weeks ago. I didn’t find it very social anymore, and it was just a place for friends who post pictures of their kids’ scribbles or “got a dollar from the tooth fairy” images. Any ideas why people are leaving social media?
[I will play the clip of this when you want to hear it]
I was recently watching a vlogsbrothers video, which we will link to in the show notes, where Hank Green was explaining why he has decided to take a break from social media. To quote something interesting he says in his opening statements, “I wish the internet were more unreliable because I don’t like the way I’m using the Internet. Or more to the point, I don’t like the way the Internet is using me.” He continued on to say he spends around 20 hours a week on Reddit, instagram and twitter, but says its a fractured way to collect information on the internet. He says mosts of the time is him refreshing the pages and checking often “as if something fresh is just truly over the horizon.” I definitely recommend you go watch the video on youtube. It’s only 3 minutes long and says a lot.
According to Canadian Mental Health Association, 86% of Ontario students visit social media sites daily and about 16% spend 5 hours or more a day on it!
To sum up an experiment done – they did MRI scans of the “nucleus accumbens (the rewards centre of the brain) and how social media use affects the brain. They found that the reward centre of the brain was often more activated after receiving positive social media feedback. Those changes were similar to individuals who experience drug or alcohol addiction.” …”and causes greater activation in their amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is connected to impulsive behavior… is also activated with people who use substances problematically.”
So this has ballooned into something even scarier. Internet Addiction is a real thing, controversial, but real. Some say the internet isn’t where to place blame, but the addiction already found in users. For example, someone is addicted to internet gambling, then they would suggest that their addiction is gambling, not the internet. Organizations like Mental Health America and Canadian Mental Health Association have deemed Internet Addiction fact, but yet that it preys most on people with mental issues the most.
The Center for Internet Addiction was created in 1995 by Dr. Kimberly Young where she provides Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Internet addiction. “Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment. Internet addiction has been called Internet dependency and Internet compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict’s life. Internet addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The Internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives.”
According to Mental Health America (.net), ” people who are addicted to the internet have trouble filling personal and professional obligations because of their online activities, and their use of the internet causes strain on relationships with family and friends. … [they] often experience negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms when their internet access is restricted.” Research suggests that 6% of people are addicted to the internet. (Less than 40% of the world have access to the internet at least once per year and significantly less have regular access) = 3.04 billion people, == 182 million people)
- i)5 types of IA – Cybersexual (cybersex and porn), Net compulsions (online gambling, shopping, stock trading), Cyber-relationships (social media, online dating, virtual communication), Gaming, Information Seeking (web surfing or database searches)
ii) A lot of people with internet addiction also have other mental health problems, like alcohol and substance abuse, depression, phobias, OCD, aggression, anxiety, sleep disorders.)
iii) Treating internet addiction varies person to person. Most of the time it aims “to create boundaries and balance around internet use rather than eliminating it entirely.” Therapy and possibly medication can be used to manage symptoms of the underlying mental illness. Also, exercise is usually a part because it eases the effects of reduced dopamine in the brain from restricted internet use.
Going back to Dr. Kimberly Young, she uses techniques called Digital Diets and Digital Nutrition, mainly because you can’t cut off internet use cold turkey. Digital diet is a controlled use of the internet.Instead of checking your social media 50 times a day, check it 5 times. Digital Nutrition is about what content you are accessing. Goes back to internet gambling. You can still use the internet for other things, but gambling is restricted.
Dr Young suggests we:
- Check our checking. (How many times are we checking things?)
- Set time limits/boundaries. (Don’t have to have your phone with you all the time.)
- Disconnect to reconnect. (Tech free family time at dinner, or family time.
- Learn to be screen smart. (Make smarter wiser choices with the internet through initiatives in schools, with parents, and teach children to use the internet wisely instead of letting them use it to curb boredom.)
I guess the reality of it all is, can we as humans have instant access to everything, all the time and NOT use it as a crutch?
If the Internet were to suddenly be gone, could we function? Not in a joking way, but could we?