Can you do it?
Can you go the weekend without going online? It's Christmas, for crying out loud. You're not *really* going to live tweet pictures of your kids opening presents are you?
Chances are you will click in .. yknow, just to have a peek at what's happening on the internet.
The Globe and Mail asked readers last week who checks email when they're on vacation and only 1/3 say they're able to fully pull the plug. I've been on vacation the past week and while my online activity has slowed, it hasn't disappeared.
For me, without a roaming data plan, a trip to the US is the only way I can really unplug. It's a forced unplugging else be faced with a ridiculous cell bill. Still, I'll find an Apple Store for a quick check.
Email is unstoppable. Leave it for too long and the dozens turn to hundreds turn to thousands. It needs a daily trim lest the forest get to overgrown.
With a full 27% of all photos now being taken by smartphones, even if you want to unplug the lure is there. We all know the internet and social network is addicting. The holidays are a time for picutre and video taking. The second you take the camera (phone) out to take a picture the Twitter icon is there. The Facebook icon is there. The fuse is lit.
Imagine having to take a picture with a cigarette after kicking that habit. It's the same thing.
The consumer research firm Intersperience surveyed more than 1,000 people in Britain and found quitting the Internet is as hard for some as quitting drinking or smoking.
Without the Internet, 40% said they felt lonely. Ironically, it’s fathomable that 40% of those living with Internet addicts probably feel lonely too.
Laurie Tamblyn, an addictions counsellor in special programs at Toronto’s Bellwood Health Services, says there are many types of Internet addiction, including gambling, gaming, and social networking.
“We’re just beginning to treat this. It is a big problem and it is going to become bigger before people start recognizing that they need to do something about it,” Tamblyn says.
I'll admit, being a parent of two small kids has meant my wife and I are spending every night at home. Subsequently, the internet has become my social life. Sure, there are meetups every now and again for some 'real life' interaction, but my social life has moved to social media. So when I rip open that copy of Steve Jobs' biography I've been holding out 6 weeks to buy on my own cause I know Santa can pull through, I'll resist bragging on the internets about it.
So spend today hunting through the boxes for your camera (the one without a phone in it). Charge up the battery back and clear out the SIM card. And then, on Christmas Eve, as the stockings are getting hung with care (and after you've gotten your Boxing Day deals), turn off your gadgetry. Fully power them down.
After all, it's the holidays. It's Christmas. It's a time for living in the moment (not the virtual one).
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