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Vimeo / Mother
Vimeo / Mother

A Week Without the Internet

Vimeo / Mother
Vimeo / Mother

Mother London enlisted five people for an experiment: they agreed to spend a week without using the Internet. That meant no smartphone, no Twitter, no Facebook, no blogging, no email. Most of the five actually have jobs that typically require them to be online, which makes quitting particularly challenging -- but not impossible, as long as it's just a week (and they appear to have proxies helping them get the net parts of their jobs done). The resulting 13-minute documentary is interesting because it's so relatable. I think most of us can identify these behaviors in ourselves, and one massive "oh crap" moment is when one person realizes she must use paper maps to navigate. That's so last century, and quite frankly, I'm 100% GPS-reliant.

Representative line: "The definition of addiction is trying to control your use, and not being able to." I can definitely relate to the twitchy desire to check my phone, refresh my browser, and so on. Have a look, but be aware that this is rated PG-13-ish (there're a few f-bombs and a glimpse of thumbnail-sized partial nudity visible at an art show):

NO INTERNET WEEK: FULL DOCUMENTARY from Mother on Vimeo.

So what do you think? Is it feasible to take a week off from the Internet every year?

On the other end of the voluntary/involuntary treatment spectrum, let's take a visit to China, where Internet addiction has been considered a medical disorder since 2008, and grim "Internet Addiction Treatment Centers" (read: creepy bootcamps) are used in an attempt to unhook the cord.

This look inside one camp is truly grim, and not just because of the conditions there -- it seems that some of these kids are not actually "addicted to the Internet" as much as they "have complicated relationships with their parents." While Internet abuse is considered a legitimate disorder in many places (including the U.S.), in China things are a bit more intense. Wow:

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This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]

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holidays
The Plugin That Keeps the Internet From Spoiling Santa Claus
iStock
iStock

During simpler times, the biggest threat to a child's belief in Santa was usually older siblings or big-mouthed classmates. Today, kids have access to an entire world wide web, full of potentially Santa-spoiling content. Luckily, there's a plugin that helps parents maintain their kids’ innocence through the holidays.

Created by the virtual private network provider Hide My Ass (HMA), the free software analyzes web activity for any information that might threaten to “bring a child’s belief in Santa crashing down.” In place of the problematic content, the plugin brings up an image of the jolly man himself. Typing the phrase “Santa is not real” into Google, for example, will instead take you to a web page showing nothing but a soft-focused St. Nick pointing into the camera and staring at you with judgmental eyes. The plugin is also designed to work for social media communications, internet ads, and articles like this one.


Hide My Ass

According to a survey of 2036 parents by HMA, one in eight children in the U.S. have their belief in Santa ruined online. Whether it's because of the internet or other related factors, the age that children stop believing in Santa is lower than ever.

The average age that current parents lost their faith in Santa Claus was 8.7 years old, and for today’s kids it’s 7.25 years. Concerned parents can download the plugin for Chrome here, though it may not be enough to hide every type of Santa spoiler: Of the parents who blamed the internet, 26 percent of them reported kids snooping over their shoulder as they shopped for gifts online.

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