Information Overload: a Love-Hate Relationship


Megan Freeman, Editor-in-Chief

There is an omnipresent something threatening my well-being. It lurks inside the very walls of my house, within school classrooms, even inside my own pocket. I can’t escape, and just when I think I am finally free from it’s vise-like grip, it snaps me back up again and drags me down into the murky depths.
 I’m talking about the Internet. I’m addicted. And it’s starting to become a problem.

It’s not just the social networking that I’m abusing like most teenagers nowadays; my addiction goes much deeper than Facebook or Twitter. What’s really got me hooked is the access to information. It’s like crack. Information crack. And the Internet is a sketchy dealer that lures me down dark alleyways.

Here is a typical exchange:

Internet: “Hey, you. I heard you’re lookin’ for sumthin’ good, yeah?”

Me: “Not today. I’m going clean. I’m just here Google stuff for my debate in Gov tomorrow.”

Internet: “Are you sure, buddy? I just got some new stuff in today, real good quality.”

Me: “Nah, listen, I told you I’m done with this stuff. I don’t—”

Internet: “Why don’t you come on over here, I’ve got 9,000 new pictures of cats riding motorcycles.”

Me: “Not going to cut it—”

Internet: “How about 147 videos of conjoined twins?”

Me: “Tempting… but I really have to focus—”

Internet: “Eight articles about quantum spacetime!”

Me: “SOLD! You win this time, Internet, but mark my words, this isn’t over yet.”

For a while I was able to keep my compulsive web surfing under control. I started with a few searches a day, happily absorbing new knowledge like a naïve little sponge. But quickly it progressed to something much more sinister. Before I knew it, I was squandering my time away in the deepest corners of the Internet and shirking actual responsibilities in the real world.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. You know the feeling—don’t deny it—when you’ve filled up all the lines in your agenda with assignments yet you still feel compelled to look up the history of circus sideshows.

There’s just so much to be learned out there, and its all only a click away! How are we supposed to focus on regular school subjects when an entire universe of knowledge is at our fingertips, waiting to be browsed? I have yet to find the balance between using the web for useful information and wasting my time watching videos on how to make ice cubes shaped like sharks. Hopefully once I find that balance, I will be able to live in harmony with the information superhighway, but until then it will be a struggle.

Right now it is 1:42 a.m. on a school night and I haven’t completed my homework. I have learned more things than anyone could care to know, but none of this information is useful for what I assume will be a painful day at school tomorrow. Want to know how to make a rail gun with kitchen supplies? I’m your gal. Or how to peel an orange without getting juice everywhere? Give me a ring. Need to know how to do last night’s statistics homework? I have no idea. Hang on, let me Google it.