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People are spending more time than ever on the Internet now. People work, do errands, connect with loved ones and stay on top of the news on the Internet. Is there a limit where it can consume our life and become too much?
Imagine you are at a buffet lunch at a restaurant. So many things to eat and so many choices to make. If possible you could try everything and savour it all. What a life would that be! If you have bought the buffet lunch then you want to consume everything so your money isn’t wasted and if someone has paid for you, how can you leave the free food to go to waste!!
That is what I feel about the internet. You are one search away from knowing anything. You can do anything with the internet. Any information in the world is at your desktop, all you need is to put are the right keywords. This has become a boon now even more with the covid-19 pandemic where we are meant to stay indoors and maintain social distancing. Internet has enabled a somewhat different but smooth running of our lives, what people are referring to as the new normal.
India has the cheapest internet data prices and is the second largest online market with around 687 million population using internet everyday. Our data consumption has increased even more since the lockdown. Internet is there for all things we need right from our jobs to entertainment. Currently there are 1.74 billion websites on the internet. 1 billion hours are watched everyday on YouTube.
Lot of information is not harmful but when that information starts causing trouble in our daily functioning this causes lots of problems. Anything in excess is harmful and this is true in case of internet too. All of this has led to information overload or infobesity. According to Cambridge Dictionary it means a situation in which you receive too much information at one time and cannot think about it in a clear way. I am referring to this feeling in the case of overload of digital information.
All of you may have experience some level of this feeling in your life. An example can be when you are scrolling down some digital platform and you feel like there is so much information you haven’t watched and you can’t control this urge to watch everything. You have lost control of restraining yourself from internet.
Ott platforms like Netflix are like those paid buffet lunchs, you have spent your money and you want to savour every penny. You want to stream as many movies and shows as you can. This creates anxiety of not being able to watch everything or fear of missing out on these things. You forget that this habit may cause a lot of physical and mental health issues. Eye pain, body ache, obesity are common issues. Mental issues like stress and anxiety can be induced due to information overload.
Information overload or cognitive overload causes more confused feeling and hinderance in making decisions. One feels irritated, unfocused and drained. All of this information coming from the internet causes more problem than benefit if one starts feeling overwhelmed with it. This feeling of overwhelming is becoming more prevalent for people nowadays who seek solace of internet for everything if they aren’t aware of it. People can also get influenced a lot from fake news and scams because digital addiction can also be caused by overuse of internet.
One can combat information overload by taking a digital detox. This can be of few minutes to few hours or a day off because it will be difficult to take few days off since most people are having online classes or work everyday. One can also try to have some time to meditate or exercise without any digital medium, try to do handcraft or dance or sing without digital support and spend some time with family.
You need to remind yourself that the internet and movies won’t go away tomorrow and you will have time to check it out later. Self care is really important in this new normal so that you can have a balanced life. Give your mind some time to process the whole information. Like our stomach, our mind also needs some time to process the food consumed during the buffet. Take care of yourself and others around you so that you don’t suffer from information overload.
Radhika Srivastava is an 19 year old writer from Varanasi, India. She believes that writing
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