The internet is killing you so it’s time to take some action with our 5 tips.
The internet has become prominent in our lives and it’s now pretty hard to escape as online banking, online billing, gaming and social media are now integral to our lives but the internet is killing you and you don’t even know it.
For gamers long gaming sessions are causing more players to fall ill with deep vein thrombosis, a condition where the legs not being mobile results in blood clotting in the veins. If one of these clots breaks away then it causes a pulmonary embolism – a blockage of the artery supplying the heart with oxygen. While we’ve seen many cases in Asia of young men dying in internet cafes from spending long hours playing and the case of a Chinese woman who died after gaming for 20 hours straight, DVTs can be caused by shorter sessions over numerous days like in the instance of a 31 year old painter from New Zealand who thankfully survived or a 20 year old man who sadly died. This isn’t just a condition that affects gamers, if you work at a desk and are sitting for long periods without a desk then it can affect you too, though lunch breaks minimise the risk.
For social media users, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and others are causing much more sinister problems in terms of depression and stress, both of which have acute physical repercussions, stress especially.
A 2016 report by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young people spent on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, YouTube and others, the more they were likely to suffer from depression. Likewise, a study by the University of Copenhagen found that people who do not use Facebook are happier than those are with similar results from the University of Houston, the University of Michigan, Utah Valley University, and links between narcissism and needing validation with social media.
The good news? You don’t have to unplug. Here’s our tips for surviving the internet.
Understand the Game
The internet is no different from a role playing game in that we choose our avatar/image/profile picture, choose a character then set about levelling up. In RPGs levelling up is making your character more powerful, on social media it’s gaining more friends or in the case of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, gathering more followers than people you follow. The majority of people maintain a character online – they post about the wonderful things that they do but they may not share the bad things, or conversely they may do the opposite. Either way, social media isn’t real life and while it’s easy to think that everyone’s lives are perfect judging by what they post, you have to remember that you’re being shown only what that person wants you to see.
Cool People Don’t Look at Explosions
If you are a regular poster on Reddit, a Facebook group or page or an internet forum, don’t get dragged into arguments or protracted discussions that are negative. If you really must engage, post your comment then walk away and ignore all replies. On Facebook you can switch off notifications for a post and on Reddit, well just ignore all inbox notifications. Having an opinion on the internet is inviting trouble, no matter how many sources you cite or how much factual proof you post there will always be an idiot who wants to argue with you. Not only is it irritating, it’s a waste of time and energy and usually involves stress or frustration so just avoid it totally.
Do What Must Be Done, Do Not Hesitate, Show No Mercy
Exactly as Emperor Palpatine would say, you need to be merciless when it comes to the internet. On Facebook you can hide people from your feed so you can keep them as friends but without seeing their posts, whereas on other social media, Xbox Live and PSN you’ll need to delete certain people. These are the people you need to ditch:
- The attention whore. We all have that friend who posts things like, “Really bad day today” just to get a reaction but the worst are the ones who reply to enquiries with “I don’t want to talk about it.” They are only posting in order to get attention so never give it to them and hide or delete them.
- The other attention whore. Everyone goes on holiday, everyone has positive experiences they want to share but some go beyond that and are humblebragging. “Look at all the presents under the Christmas tree”, “Here I am on holiday (with my tiny outfit and toned body)”, “I don’t know how I did it but I got a first in my degree/got this amazing new job” and so on.
- The politician. You probably know who you’re going to vote for, you don’t need someone battering you with their opinion. If you are unsure then you really shouldn’t be looking at Facebook for advice.
- The psychic vampire. A vampire sucks your blood, the psychic vampire just sucks your energy and will to live. Anyone who’s statuses make you want to slit your wrists, can take many forms including the constant depressive or the “I love my boo/bae so much”. If a person makes you feel bad then they have to go.
- The virtue signaller. “Here’s a picture of me with a tramp I bought lunch for today”, “I’m about to go into the hospital to donate toys”, “If you share posts by x organisation then please delete yourself” and so on. People doing charitable events and looking for sponsorship are excluded from this.
- The non replier. You know the type, the person who doesn’t reply to a message. While they may joke about being forgetful or that they always think they’ve replied, they are actually telling you to go away.
Take a Break
It’s very easy to lose time online whether you’re gaming or you’re on that weird part of YouTube which features blackhead extractions or naked Russian guys swinging their dong around to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme but you need to take regular breaks. By getting up and walking around you’re letting your eyes refocus and you’re also making the blood in your legs move, which is incredibly important for those who sit cross legged or sit on their legs (pro tip: don’t do either). In the case of social sites it’s sometimes good to stop visiting them for a few days just to take time away and get perspective. The world won’t end because you didn’t see pictures of Julie’s baby shower or you missed 100 invites to like someone’s band. Even if you decide that you don’t want to take a break like that, then permanently turn notifications off on the apps for the sites you use so that way you look at them when you want to rather than being at the beck and call of Facebook.
Set a Limit
Remember the days when your parents would limit your gaming/time online/time watching TV? There’s a good reason for it, it’s not healthy to spend too much time indoors and it’s not healthy to always be contactable. If you’ve spent 800 hours on Destiny, Call of Duty or some other game then that’s fine, but let’s presume that you had a full time job playing games for a living where you do 7 hours a day, 5 days a week – you’ve spent 22 months playing that game. Nearly 2 years where you could have done something else like learning a language, a sport, an instrument, learning to draw, getting that beach body or whatever you’ve dreamed of being able to do. Likewise your 10,000 karma on Reddit is a badge of how much time you spend on that site. Again, it’s fine to commit that time if you really want to but isn’t there something else that you’d rather do? To paraphrase Eric Thomas, “You want to be successful but you don’t want it bad, you just kinda want it. You don’t want it as much as you want to waste time online.” Limit your time online and use your free time to go after your dreams.