Saturday, April 22, 2006

Do we surf too much?

The average person spends two and a half hours per day watching TV. I've written in the past about what a waste of time this is.

But have we swapped one time wasting activity with another...?

The average Internet user in the UK now spends, on average, 164 minutes online. How much of this is just idle surfing and constant checking of emails?

A few caveats are needed here: firstly, how do you actually calculate how much time you spend online? In theory you could say that I am online almost all the day, as I'm at the computer most of the day and the computer is always connected to the web. Equally, many activities like reading the news and listening to the radio can now be run through the web, so is it really sensible to see the web as something totally distinct? It seems to me that the web is going to become increasingly prevalent, and via media other than the desktop PC.

Nevertheless, much of our web-surfing is undoubtedly just habitual. Discipline is clearly called for. Us Humans do have a penchant for activities that put us in a trance state, with no need to THINK. Alcohol and drug consumption, TV, excessive meditation, excessive exercising. In particular, nightclubs, with their flashing lights, repetitive music and lack of conversation seem to return their patrons to the state of 'booming, buzzing confusion' of a baby or even a fetus in the womb.

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