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Addicted to the World Wide Web. 8, August 2009

Posted by Iphigenia in Internet, Personal memories, Thoughts.

Another of my favourite haunts on the World Wide Web appears to be down at this moment in time. Instead of logging off and getting an early night for a change it has sent me back here to the resting place of my many aborted attempts at serious blogging.

It has made me think about exactly how much of the last ten years or so of my life have been documented on the web. I’m old enough to remember a childhood where I didn’t waste hours in front of a screen but young enough to remember becoming so addicted to this new privilege in my household, the Internet, that I spent many school nights up until an ungodly hour. I’m amazed I managed to pass my GCSEs with more or less my predicted results. I spent so many school days in the years 2000-2002 feeling utterly exhausted because I had been chatting on a rugby website until 2am.

I’m not as dependent on the web anymore. There used to be a time that if I couldn’t get on the computer for whatever reason (another family member for example) I would start to get withdrawal symptoms. I’d start banging doors and huffing to let the person occupying the chair that they were using up MY time. Now I only feel a sense of urgency when I want to chat to my boyfriend on MSN. I can take it or leave if it I have to neglect all my other web duties for a few hours.

Now I’m older I do try to restrict how much information about me can be traced. Of course I know that the only way to be certain is to not use social networking sites at all. It’s too late for me however. I’ve become so used to using them that I use them out of habit. Perhaps I’m still addicted in some ways.

I do restrict my profiles and don’t publish personal information in public, the usual precautions. I know deep in my heart it will never be enough but I feel a bit safer.

It does worry me however that a simple google search will turn up remnants of years long gone. Somewhere in cyberspace the 16 year old me still exists. I don’t like that idea, not for reasons of security, but because it’s an embarrassing permanent record of my opinions and sometimes actions from that era. There’s websites I used and passwords I’ve forgotten and yet 16 year old me is still there. I can’t erase her.

I really have the urge to give talks to school children now. I want to tell them to forget messageboards and stop using social networking sites. I want to hug each of them and scream that if they forget to delete these things when they’re much younger, they’ll regret it when they’re a 23 year old graduate wishing she’d not been quite so addicted to the Internet…

Now I’m wondering if giving away my age and graduate status is too personal for a public blog. I guess I’m fine as I haven’t said much else. Besides, this is  supposed to be a bit more anonymous than my other blogging efforts on other websites.

It’s my way of making up for 16 year old me. It’s my fresh start.


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