A Week Without the Internet

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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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February 8, 2014 - 9:00am
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