Dirk Knemeyer

Internet addiction and politics

Internet addiction and politics, March 2, 2010

A short comment contextualizing the prediction could go right here

I want to focus on what I see as a clear byproduct of [Internet Addiction Disorder]: the degree to which we turn off our brains and become increasingly passive, disengaged, and numb when we are online. I’ve observed this in myself and others. There are evenings where I’ve been “on the Internet” all night and, when I’m done, would struggle to answer a quiz covering what I was doing, let alone what benefit I received from it. The time is just lost, gone as I compulsively click-click-click. My brain is switched off, and I am left feeling like my time and life are wasted.

I am deeply troubled, for example, by the recent direction being taken in American politics: the political middle is being squeezed out as two increasingly polarized political parties boil down to rhetoric and entrenched, narrow positions. Politicians, like the previously anonymous Joe Wilson, are rewarded with celebrity status for not having decorum and behaving inappropriately. This is a product of many more complicated facets of media and society, but certainly part of that gravity well is the shrinking attention spans of the citizenry, more moved by bombastic and audacious headlines than any real substance.