The dark side of curiosity

curious comic

Curiosity has some great qualities but it also has a dark side. It sometimes makes it easy to justify behavior that doesn’t help you.

For example, yesterday I felt some discomfort and a headache towards the end of the day. I realized that I had read more than I could deal with in the news about the suffering in the world. I want to be informed about what happens worldwide, but there is a balance. Right now I have 18 feeds in my NewsBlur reader. I am going to prune them after I write this article. I have attempted too much and made myself feel sick about things. I now only have 9 feeds in my reader. This is more manageable.

curious comic
curious comic

Research shows that overdoing anything on the internet has harmful consequences. I used to read too much news, I  used to read too much social media. Now I waste too much time with YouTube videos. Yes, they are educational, but there is a balance to everything and I have to find a better balance in how I use my time during the day. I am slowly changing, however. I have made LinkedIn my only social network, today I am going to prune my news sources, and I am not going to watch YouTube videos anymore unless there is an educational purpose. There is just way too much garbage I have watched and wasted my time and life.

Part of the problem with getting addicted to things on the internet is that it is so easy. We can justify to ourselves that we are only being good citizens by keeping up with the news. Or that we are growing our skills by watching YouTube videos. Or that we are understanding culture by participating in social media. In small amounts that is true. The problem is that with the availability of an easy internet connection, the internet has become an addiction and one that we don’t see as one.

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I am not saying to avoid the internet. That is crazy. It is the greatest source of information in our lives. However, we need to put this beast in a cage. We need to limit what we do and how much time we spend with it. Since I work in IT, the Internet has become my life professionally. However it is not my life personally, and I have started to take steps to distance myself physically from it. For example, I don’t interact with my iPhone other than to use it as an MFA. I leave my desk after 5 and go into another room so that I am not tempted to spend more time on it. I am playing an iOS game that disconnects me from online stuff and allows me to have fun.

Life is more than just being a worker bee. We can enjoy our job and also enjoy our lives.