Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Confessions of an Internet Junkie

By Linda Lange

Let’s get something straight. I have never texted while driving. I check my-email at stoplights, though. Particularly when the light is red.

My name is Linda, and I’m an Internet junkie. This is not supposed to be happening to me. I am 65 years old. This is something that happens to kids. Stupid kids
I had to learn about WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads to promote my book, Incomplete Passes. But this goes farther. I admit it, I’m obsessed.

When I was a kid, computers took up entire rooms. Today I’m besotted with one that fits in the palm of my hand. I would rather leave my house minus underwear than without my smartphone.

When my husband and I go out to dinner, I fidget throughout the meal, looking at my phone repeatedly. I note what our son has posted on Facebook and relay it to my husband. Our son lives 2,000 miles away. This is how we keep up with him. 

Dinner is meant to be family time, right?

I check for e-mail and texts. Ten minutes later I check again. Someone might send me an urgent message. My husband falls asleep waiting for me to come to bed. I’m down the hall surfing the ‘Net. My name is Linda …

My friend Marilyn is a psychologist specializing in addiction. “It’s easy to tell if you’re addicted to your computer,” she told me. “Check the list in my book.” So I pulled out Addicted? by Marilyn Freimuth, Ph.D. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008).

Marilyn named eleven criteria for computer addiction (I’ve abbreviated them to conserve space).

1. Experiences gratification when on computer
2. Preoccupied with computer activity
3. Needs to spend increasingly more time on computer to change mood
4. Fails repeated efforts to control activities
5. Restless and tense when not on computer
6. Needs to return to computer to escape problems or relieve mood
7. Neglects social, familial, education, or work obligations
8. Lies to family members, therapists, and others about extent of time spent on computer
9. Threatens or loses significant relationships, job, etc., because of computer usage
10. Physical signs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, backaches, dry eyes, etc.
11. Changes in sleep patterns

If five apply, you’re addicted. I got eight. Sheesh! How many did you get?

I haven’t even mentioned Words with Friends.

 I play with my friend Carla, who lives in Wisconsin. She plays on her iPad and I play on my phone. Recently I was driving on an errand, maybe ten miles, and I stopped twice because my phone dinged and I had to check out Carla’s move. At least I pulled over.

But I can justify this. Carla, who’s my age, says she plays Words to keep her mind sharp. That’s it! All this Internet stuff is keeping my mind sharp. If I stay on the ‘Net, my mind will stay sharp and in fifteen or twenty years, I won’t have to go to a nursing home.

… If I do go, they better have WiFi.

Linda Lange, author of Incomplete Passes

Linda Shaw Lange has never forgotten what it was like to be a teenager living in Green Bay, WI, during the era when Vince Lombardi coached the Packers.  She shares her memories—sometimes nostalgic, often wry—in Incomplete Passes:  Reflections on Life, Love, and Football.
Linda is a graduate of Green Bay East High School and earned a BS in Speech from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  Following graduation, Linda worked in broadcast stations and spent ten years as a copywriter in the advertising sales promotion department of U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington DC.  After moving to Cincinnati, OH, in 1983, Linda took on free-lance writing assignments and volunteered at Save the Animals Foundation, a no-kill shelter for dogs and cats.  She served for several years on the shelter’s management team.
Incomplete Passes, Linda’s first book, was named a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Linda has been married since 1969 to Scott Lange, an announcer and narrator.  They have two cats and a son who is not named after “Mr. A” in Incomplete Passes.

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June McCullough said...

Thank you for making me smile after a very tiring day. I enjoyed this very much.

Linda Lange said...

I'm glad you liked it, June. Thanks! I think making someone smile is about the best thing an author can do.