Niall Mulrine

Technology: Are you addicted to the internet?

Some people can't live without the internet.

Some people can’t live without the internet.

TIGHTLY clung inside my sweaty palm is the feeling of loneliness from a universe I have found myself immersed into without a warning, a device that fits in perfect harmony but without its full potential to please its owner? Feeling like a raver settling down after a highly illuminated and fast paced night, I preserve some contact with the world if only by 2G.

This is the situation I found myself recently engulfed into, brought by an IT malfunction that meant losing my “Smart-Phone” to a repair centre! What it brought to the senses, was awareness of not only me, but how society has people trapped by frequencies of radio waves into a closet of expansion. I find myself disconnected with only a 2G signal living in a 3/4G World. To deepen the despair of the situation, my phone went a roaming on a Spanish network with the sounds of coins being slotted into a poker machine with a bottomless pot.


How To Learn Living Without 3G
Strolling through the sand dusty concrete slabs trying to get a satellite to pick my position to try and pick up a 3G signal to allow the “Surfing” to begin. Where and when did all this mental reliance on a connection become so important in our lives? Are we over reliant on the Internet? Do we use our mobile phones too much to go online?
“I am a material girl living in a material world” sang Madonna in the early 1980’s which describing the motion of career minded people finding love with other material driven passions the same. Fast forward the late 2000’s and early 2010’s? Am I a digital person stuck in a wired world? Not only am I, but the 33% of the World population will own a smartphone by 2017 according to and 71% of the Irish population owning a smartphone in 2012 according to (see graph below) Are these unreasonable to comprehend? I think not, looking at how we have grown to the upsurge of internet connected devices in the last decade, this shadow only darkens our dependence on “Wi-Fi”.

“No Wi-Fi here, just conversation”
Talking to Brian Comeford of recently, he told me of a café he once entered and a sign on the window states “No Wi-Fi here, just conversation”. This is where the ironic inception of coffee shops have been tilted more of an Internet connected hub rather than the place to meet someone over the fumes of finely roasted coffee beans to have meaningful discussions and elaborate conversations. Only sit in a café, (I am guilty too) have a look around and see how many people are grasping to the shiny edges of mobile devices glaring through latest news, Facebook gossip and emails, only to be forgotten in time of their presence in the place. Quietly in and quietly out? Remember sitting in doctor’s surgery where conversations would begin about weather and slowly graduate to personal discussions?

Reuniting people with conversation
This mystery of silence in certain establishments made me think of my own standing of smartphone addiction!! Some time back, my phone needed to get sent off to repair centre and with the kind help from the O2 shop in Letterkenny, I was given a basic smartphone for a lend. This was given a day before I had to travel abroad to Majorca to take my place in a gang of 40 Irish cyclists taking part in a 5 day challenge day in aid of Crumlin Hospital. Without the always connected pocket device, I felt a little isolated for the first 2 days and then began to enjoy the silence of no buzzing and beeping. Climbing hills with former Tour de France winner Stephen Roache was fantastic experience and without the constant humming of a phone, this made it more in the “NOW”.

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