This brilliant monster. What’s your relationship with the internet?

internet relationship

Would we have ever thought that we’d have such a relationship with the internet 80 years ago? In 1943, Thomas Watson, then Chair of IBM, is reputed to have said:

‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.’

It proved an inaccurate prediction; but then the largest computer at the time, known as Colossus, weighed a tonne…but had less power than a lap top.

Nowadays, the internet offers round-the-clock research facilities, news, entertainment, advertising, banking, shopping auctions, holiday booking, flat hunting, house purchase, gambling, dating and health care advice. From January to February 2020, 96% of households in Great Britain had internet access. Similarly, 87% of all adults said they had shopped online within the last 12 months (Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain: 2020 – Office of National Statistics.)

The internet gives unprecedented power to the individual; but there’s a cost, for the relationship can also leave them exhausted, anxious or depressed.

One psychologist called our relationship to the internet as that of ‘high-functioning junkies’.

Our mind is besieged by information: it is estimated that every day we are subjected to over 3000 marketing messages, each impacting on our mood.

The old Cartesian aphorism ‘I think therefore I am’ has been replaced by ‘I log on, therefore I can know.’

It’s a competitive and restless world of information overload.

Sometimes, however, our mind needs peace; and the 24/7 availability of the internet cuts us off from the natural rhythms of sunrise and sunset, and from the principle of Sabbath rest.

So perhaps when thinking about our relationship with the internet, we’ll handle with caution and care; perhaps we’ll put in some boundaries.

The internet is a brilliant monster, here to serve us…but not diminish or consume us.