Hi, my name is Heidi, and I’m an addict.
An internet addict.
As the AT&T family plan would have it, however, I’m still sharing a data package with my mom, step-dad, and step-siblings, and am reliant on it for both my phone and my computer. Not the ideal situation for bingeing.
This last month, my cell phone used up 90% of our entire family data package. Not to mention that we had just doubled our plan to 25GB the month before. Really? Me? Whoops. Sorry.
Yesterday we got the “you used up all your data, suckas” text message, leaving me and the rest of the family internetless.
On both my phone and computer. For the next 10 days.
I freaked out a little.
Excuse me?! No internet? For how long?!
How am I supposed to work? To communicate with people?
To find my way back to my apartment?!
I can’t even look up the number for AT&T to get it fixed!
I pictured mind-numbing public transit commutes without BuzzFeed to distract me. Being tagged in a bad Facebook photo and not being able to untag it. Losing my ‘Inbox Zero’ streak. Amy Winehouse echoed in my brain. They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no. I will not participate in this forced digital detox.
Like any responsible adult, I came up with a game plan: I’ll call mom.
She—an iPad-addicted business woman—couldn’t bare the idea of getting through the next day without internet either. She immediately called AT&T to remedy the situation. Don’t worry, daughter, I’ll save us!
After siting Skype, Hulu, and Spotify as the culprits (and laying a thick, well-deserved guilt trip on me), she said it’d be fixed by morning. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I could keep my addiction.
As I lay in bed that night—void of my CandyCrush & Tinder bedtime rituals—I realized how pathetic my life had become. I had gone 6 hours without internet and was already writing my eulogy.
I guess the first step is admitting that you have a problem.
But do I really want to solve my problem? It’s part of the culture!
I know I’ve placed a lot of loved ones on the back-burner for technology—staying in to watch YouTube on Fridays rather than going out with my friends or calling my family members to catch up. Even when they try to use technology to contact me, I still find my excuses (I’m too busy; I’m bad with text messages / Facebook messages; I don’t use instant messenger).
But… the hypocrite inside of me is worried for the world.
If you look around any given venue, 80% of people are interacting with electronics rather than other people. Teenagers sit by each other in silence on the bus—entranced with their cell phones, as if they all understand how hard it was to go without them the whole school day.
Adults do it, too. I’ve noticed that in restaurants there’s an unspoken “cell phone break” at the end of each meal, where both parties can whip out their phones without disrespecting one another. I’ve put in my social time, now I can go back to my digital world. A lot of times this is done in front of kids, who ironically are going to be scolded in a few years for mimicking the actions they just witnessed at the dinner table.
I wonder if we’re going to laugh at how ridiculous we’re being (in replacing human interaction with digital interactions) 20 years from now? Or are we simply going to laugh at how low-tech our “high-tech” communication was?
I don’t know how to change it. Or if it even needs to change. I just know that recognizing it is the first step.
· Step 1 - Admit Powerlessness.
· Step 2 - Find Hope.
· Step 3 - Surrender.
· Step 4 - Take Inventory
· Step 5 - Confess
· Step 6 - Become ready
· Step 7 - Ask God
· Step 8 - Make a list of amends
· Step 9 - Make amends
· Step 10 - Continue my Inventory
· Step 11 - Pray and Meditate
· Step 12 - Help Others