Everything’s better because of the Internet

Danny Cozzi

Last week, my Internet went out for a few hours.

I took note of my frustration from not being able to repair the connection and realized something: I’m an Internet addict.

There’s no use denying it anymore and I’m sure many NIU students are, too. Half the time I’m in class I see people sneakily scrolling through Facebook on their smartphones.

This begs the question: If my Internet goes out, just what on God’s green Earth am I supposed to do?

Once my Internet came back on, I decided to take an online addiction test. According to an online survey from the conveniently named Center for Internet Addiction, I scored 37 out of 100 as an Internet addict. The average Internet user can expect to receive a 20 to 49 on the test, so I guess things could be worse.

But, in the hours that I spent curled up in a cold dark corner of my first world problems, I realized that while we’re all addicted to the Internet to some extent, the connection craze isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I believe constantly being linked to a vast and endless stream of information and entertainment from across the entire freaking world is a damn good thing.

Think about that for a second. By the click of your mouse, you can read up on America’s military intervention in Mali or look at pictures on Imgur of some guy from Connecticut and his cats. You’re connected to everything. I think that’s incredible.

However, some people may argue that my eternal love for the Interwebz is misguided. Junior mathematics major Brian Theis said the mass obsession for being connected is inhibiting our ability to socialize with each other.

“Twenty years ago, if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to actually go out of your way to meet someone,” Theis said. “[People] rely on it as their only source and they become dependent on the Internet for their socialization.”

Theis makes a good point, and I do agree with him to an extent. I would never advocate trading your entire life for a wireless connection. But, when it comes to social skills being deprived by it, I think the Internet causes less damage than some might think. I believe socializing has always been an awkward thing even before the Internet.

In the dark ages before my family had a computer, I hated going to a birthday party for a fellow 7-year-old where I didn’t know anyone. Even now, when I walk into an apartment party that reeks of booze and cigarettes, I get that same feeling. The only difference is, as an introvert, I have awkward penguin memes and perfectly relevant Imgur gifs to relate to. Now, I can see I’m not alone in my constant struggle with social discomfort.

Of course being online to the point where your relationships, work and education suffer is an issue. But, hey, until I get to that point, I’ll keep watching Netflix and digging through the depths of Spotify for more music to listen to.