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Are Today’s High Tech Devices Creating A Nation Of Hermits?

One of the things that I have had trouble with as a senior learning Internet marketing is this business if establishing backlinks. Why are they necessary and how do you get them? Are all backlinks necessary? As we explore these questions I am going to post on this site a number of articles that we wrote as the master article of which we could then write new versions. I stress the business of the writing of new articles not spinning them. We then approached a number of sites that might be interested in publishing these ideas. Because I feel that the ideas are very worthy on exploring I am going to post them on this site.

The first one is:

Are Today’s High Tech Devices Creating A Nation Of Hermits?

First thing when I woke up today, I checked my email. Then, I got on Facebook to see what everybody’s doing. After chatting with a few friends and ‘liking’ a few links they shared with me, I got on my favorite forums. I hung out a while and then decided I needed a break from all this social activity. I relaxed with a few YouTube videos and a little computer solitaire. Finally I did a bit of surfing to see what the best women’s golf clubs were available and then I did a search for a crib for my Granddaughter.

And when I went outside later to buy milk, the sun burned my eyes! And the people around me seemed to be staring at me! It was terrible; I got back inside as quickly as I could and logged on to Twitter.

Does this sound like your typical morning? Okay, maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but many people today believe that our computers (and especially the internet) are turning us into a nation of hermits. We’re losing our social skills and our ability to interact with the outside world. Life is becoming virtual!

Are You An Internet Junkie?

Is it true? Are we becoming shut-ins who are locked to our computer screens? You can find studies that agree and disagree with this theory, but let’s just consider why many people are worried.

First of all, we’ll cite one study – it was by Carnegie Mellon University in 1998. It found that heavy internet users have fewer friends, more stress, and higher levels of depression. Remember – this refers to ‘heavy’ users, or as some might say, internet addicts. This is also way back in the Stone Age of the ‘90s when we didn’t have so many social networking sites to reach the outside world with.

In fact, there were a number of studies in the 90’s that indicated we were facing a potential epidemic of internet addiction. They termed it Internet Addiction Disorder and made a list of symptoms that probably describe most of us today in 2011: using online services every day, going out less, losing track of time, others complaining about your internet use while you deny you’ve got a problem, and here’s a really terrible one – checking your inbox multiple times a day!

What was a mental disorder yesterday is just modern life today.

The reason for the coining of this new disorder was that internet use began to resemble the same addiction patterns you see with gambling, hard drugs and reality television. These include lying about your addiction and becoming more socially withdrawn, while it takes its toll on every aspect of your life – family, relationships, job, health, etc.

Online Vs. Face To Face Communication

But the internet is all about communication, isn’t it? Don’t you always hear about all the new ways we can talk to people all over the world?

This is true, but communication online is completely different from face-to-face communication. So much is lost when we’re looking at words on a screen instead of a person’s face. You can’t see non-verbal clues or hear subtle nuances. Sure, emoticons help a little, but there’s no substitute for the real thing.

In fact, studies have found that physical contact with other human beings is therapeutic. The internet may not turn you into an anxiety-ridden socially withdrawn recluse, but face to face contact with real people might help to keep you from becoming one.

Critics charge that internet ‘friends’ are based on superficial relationships. By immersing ourselves in our virtual social lives, we lose our face to face social skills which need practice just like any other.

The Internet – A Threat To The Nation’s Youth

Many people worry about the effect that heavy use of the internet has on our kids. They worry that children don’t develop the necessary social skills when they spend too much time online instead of socializing for real.

Young people have self-confidence problems and often they have a hard time interacting with others. The internet makes it easy to socialize, so children who are shy or lack confidence can go online instead of facing the world outside. This can hinder social development and establish a lifetime pattern of social isolation.

Relief From Your Social Problems

Indeed, relief from social problems is one of the main reasons many people choose the internet over real life. It’s so much easier to communicate online and to avoid people you don’t like or who make you uncomfortable. But as already mentioned, it’s difficult if not impossible to establish true relationships with people online.

The internet allows you total freedom and control. You can be whoever you want to be. If you’re a flabby balding middle-aged man, you can be a sprightly teenage cheerleader! If you’re a meek underachiever, you can be a lion of the business world. Anybody can be anything!

Lack of control is a major component in social anxiety. Because the internet gives you total control, it allows you to hide in its virtual reality. You no longer have to confront your anxiety issues head-on to get along in life.

Night Of The Living Netheads

Finally, a major component in net hermitude is simply laziness. Why go out on Saturday night when all of your friends are chatting on Facebook or enjoying a video game together?

Even if you think that ‘internet addiction’ is just a bunch of hooey, you have to admit that the web is a major time-waster. The time you spend surfing the web is time that you could be spending enjoying the company of others.

A New Way Of Making Connections

Before you take your computer to the nearest secondhand shop or snip your internet connection, let’s take a second to consider the other side of the argument. It’s undeniable that the web connects you to people you otherwise would’ve never met. Whereas human beings used to socialize only with people in their present physical location, the web allows you to communicate with anyone in the human race who has an internet connection.

Studies have shown that internet users have much more diverse friendships in terms of race, religion, political belief, nationality, age and just about everything else. This increased contact with people, although it might be distant and somewhat superficial, can only bring with it benefits.

The ability to communicate with people everywhere also helps us with our problems. We get help with careers, health, childrearing, growing up, schooling, major philosophical questions, and general life problems. We have access to the experience of others who we would otherwise not know.

For people who suffer from major physical or mental illnesses, the internet has been a lifesaver. It gives them access to support from thousands of people who are going through what they’re going through.

What You Can Do About It

So, are computers good or bad for your social life? Like most other things, the computer itself isn’t good or evil; it’s how it’s used. Here are some ways to keep your social isolation in check and not become a complete internet hermit.

  • Limit computer time. The less time you spend online, the more time you’ll spend getting out and doing something. And that might even include meeting other human beings! Start by monitoring the time you spend online compared with your time doing other things. You might be surprised.
  • Make a list of all the things you used to do before you spent so much time online. It might be a shocking wake-up call, but sometimes we need to be shocked. It’ll help you realize what you might be missing out on.
  • If you fall into the category of ‘compulsive net surfer’ or ‘hopeless webaholic,’ think about these things: How do you feel when you get online? Are you using the internet to deal with anxiety, depression or general dissatisfaction in your life? Is there a change you could make to eliminate this problem or dissatisfaction?
  • Create a behavioral change plan. Decide how much you’re going to do what. For example, only get on Facebook once a week. Stop checking email first thing in the morning. Turn off the computer when you’re not actively using it. Choose a time of day or day of the week when it stays off.
  • Focus on being more active. Watch a movie at the theater instead of online. Read a book instead of surfing the web. Join local community groups based around your interest instead of internet groups. And most importantly – call friends and do things with them on a regular basis.

Computers don’t turn people into hermits, but they make it easier to become one. It’s up to you to make sure you’re dealing with your problems and getting away from the web once in a while. Once you get out and see people, you’ll realize how valuable that face to face human time is!

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