Internet addiction: a problem for friendship, by Leda Isabella Fianchi

Recently it’s been happening more and more that when I go out with some of my friends and we’re having dinner, they spend a lot of time on their phones. I don’t know if this happens because they’re not interested in what we’re talking about or simply because, although they chose to go out, in reality they’re looking for other people to be with. Every time this happens I wonder, are Facebook and Instagram dangerous for friendship?

The funny thing about social networks is that we believe we have so many friends and know more about their lives just because we are able to scroll their profiles with just one tap of a finger. It seems that it isn’t necessary to spend time with our friends to get to really know them, because in less than five minutes we know where they were last Saturday night, or the last time they went to the gym, or what kind of things they like to do in their free time. But in fact, in real life it is hard to build deep and meaningful relationships, because real friendships are based on listening, patience and time spent together. There are so many ways to achieve this and to control today’s internet addiction, which isolates us and pushes us to lose contact with friends.

According to a Telegraph article, a solution to this problem could be to reorganize our lives, writing down activities that we would like to pursue in real life, in order to spend less time on the Internet. The article also notes that we need to “take time to appreciate the fact that all life is not yet online” and it suggests things that we can experience only in real life, such as novels and poetry readings. Another solution to the internet addiction, connected to the reorganization of time, is to remind ourselves to take breaks from what distracts us from reality. If we are in a music or book store with friends or we are going for a walk with them, we need to keep focusing on what we are doing in that moment and to do this we have to stay connected only to the real world. To help us, there are some specific Internet-blocker programmes that set a period of time for which we cannot use the Internet, in order to help us to curb our browsing time.

The most important thing is that we must learn that the Internet and social networks are just tools and if we don’t use them responsibly, we will end up losing all sense of reality as well as the opportunity of finding a good balance between life and technology. We just need a reminder of how beautiful and precious our life is and we should embrace every second of it. Sometimes it is better to be offline than online.

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