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Dear V

Dear V,

I think that I am addicted to the computer and being online. I always have every single intention of doing my work whenever I sit down to my computer, but somehow it just never gets done, and then it’s past midnight, and I have nothing to show for my evenings! I think that my internet addiction is beginning to affect my sleep pattern because I have to get up really early to finish my work. I only ever end up getting five hours of sleep at the most! I’m so tired out! But, I would rather go online than sleep! That’s just how bad it has gotten. Also, my grades are beginning to suck. I really don’t know how to curb this obsession!

Always online

Dear Reader,

Oy vey. I think that your internet use has gotten out of hand. Unfortunately, in my opinion curbing an internet addiction is just as difficult as curbing an alcohol or drug addiction if not more so; it is virtually impossible to be a student and not use a computer. In fact, it is virtually impossible to live in this country and not use a personal computer. The internet promises efficiency and ease (though not always!) and to not take advantage of its capabilities would be a real waste. On the other hand, as you already know, it is easy to get bogged down in the uselessness of the internet especially when one has the choice to either be productive and do work, or stalk your friends and innocent others on the facebook and AIM. Damn that facebook! I, for one, am totally guilty of dedicating crucially important work time to the joys and endless thrills of online shopping. It’s almost too easy!

However, I would not consider myself to be addicted to the internet, whereas I think that you truly might have an unhealthy fixation. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, an addict is one who devotes or surrenders himself “to something habitually or obsessively,” namely the internet. However, you are not alone by any means. It is estimated that as many as five million Americans are addicted to or have an unhealthy dependence on the internet. The Counseling Center at the University of Texas has even offered a class entitled “It’s 4 a.m., and I can’t-uh won’t-log off” to help students wean themselves of the behavior.

You’ve mentioned that your sleep patterns are off, and that your grades are down the toilet, but have you noticed that you’d rather spend time on the internet than in the company of your friends and family? Would you rather spend your time checking people’s AIM away messages than spend it at a party? Hello red flags!

Obviously, it is not possible for you to go cold turkey and rid yourself completely of internet use. However, it is possible for you to lessen significantly the amount of time you spend surfin’ the net. Beyond completely deleting your browser (because I know that you’re not going to) you should try to figure out just how many hours you can afford to waste on non-work related internet time, and then allot yourself only that time for instant messaging, facebooking, copious email checking etc. If you can’t stick to it, try setting a timer or only use the computers at the library when you need to do work as you likely will not want to waste away in the library needlessly. If none of the above are effective remedies, I suggest seeking professional help.

Best of luck!

V.

Fact o’ the Day.Eight percent of sexually active people engage in anal sex on a regular basis.

Please send probing inquiries to DearV@hotmail.com or drop V a line in her box in the office of The Hurricane. All questions and comments will remain anonymous.

V is a senior majoring in creative writing and psychology.

February 17, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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