Replace Book with Internet and This Looks a Lot like Addiction

futurelab default header

This was an interesting perspective I’d not thought about before. It especially rang true, since as a kid I can remember often being told to “get your head out of that book and go outside to play”. I wonder how many parents say that nowadays.


The quote in full:

“A nice, long book with hundreds of pages, one so good you don’t want it to end. You are completely immersed, looking forward to the end of the day when you can lose yourself in it again, staying up past your bedtime for just a few more pages. Good, right? Our lost Eden, right? But now consider: what may be absorption and focus from one angle could be irresponsible escapism from another. What are you doing with yourself while reading that book? Hiding from your surroundings, spending hours of time alone and immobile, emerging to measure real things in your life by the imaginary story? Replace “book” with “Internet” and this looks a lot like addiction.”


Now, you could argue (as a friend did when we were discussing this) that there is an inherent value in reading certain literary standards – Wordsworth was the example he used – a quality which the web cannot match. I get how he feels… but equally wonder if one day there may be things online that will be held in similarly high regard.

Maybe I am overly optimistic – but in the early days of paperback book publishing, it was dominated by pulp trashy novels… then along came Penguin. (Of course: I didn’t think of this counter at the time, it’s always the way!)

Image thanks to Julie70 via Flickr CC

Image 1: striatic

Original Post: