‘I always felt a little dirty if I looked at Facebook too much’

Online news is your addiction, you say. But keeping up with the news on Twitter isn’t such a bad thing, right?
“I see some perversion in that as well. Live blogs constantly pile news upon news. First with corona, now with Ukraine. Every time there is a ping of a news. A post about someone launching a new test balloon is under a report of a nuclear weapon threat. In this way, all news events are presented as equally important and therefore nothing is really important anymore. Are those blogs for news companies a good strategy? They think they can’t do anything else, because otherwise people will switch to another news channel. At the same time, many people are getting tired of the continuous barrage of bad news about the weather, bad news about Ukraine. A reason why people were driven to conspiracy theorists in times of corona. They always heard from them that there was no corona problem at all. They would rather hear that.

Are you in control of your addiction?
“I am no longer constantly on my cell phone. In the afternoon around three she turns black. Until the next morning, is the intention”.

That works?
“I hope to improve on that. In any case, no mobile phone at night is my goal. But sometimes I think: should I continue to apply this or that? Or: would it already be known that…? Or there’s going to be another ruckus or something, I want to know how it goes. Then the phone turns on. But sometimes it works.”

What is sometimes?
“That is a question of conscience. About half the time. What was new? “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” something like that. Here in my garden shed I have no internet. I’m here with my books. consciously. In the end, almost nothing is so important that an answer must be given immediately. It’s better to let something sink in for a while. You don’t always have to be online. It’s also very inefficient if you’re answering emails all the time.”

Before three there is no restriction?
“I am a bit addicted. So in the morning I want to know how things have been in Ukraine in the last few hours. I also respond to student emails until three in the afternoon.”

In the future, do you still turn off your cell phone in the afternoon?
“I think so. Anyone who spends a lot of time on social media is only going to get unhappier. You constantly tend to compare your situation to everyone else’s. You see lives that you might want to lead, but are not within your reach. This is It’s a big topic among teenagers. It also won’t make you happier if you hear all day that the world is on its last legs and you can’t do anything about it. As a human being you have a responsibility for this world, and you certainly have to take it on, but you particular situation is simply where you are in. If you uproot yourself from that and are only active in an online space where you can’t improve the situation at the same time, that’s a recipe for unhappiness.”

What is addictive about mobile phones?
“That is different for everyone. In essence, they are all forms of escapism: escape. You don’t have to take on that complicated responsibility of the here and now. When you play or play a phone game, you don’t have to stop at the moment and the responsibilities you find yourself in. I taught philosophy in a high school for a little over a year. During breaks, all the kids would sit next to each other in the hallways, all over the school, each concentrating on their own phone. It is true that the students had to hand over their mobile phones for classes, but during those classes they were constantly busy with what could happen on that phone; Perhaps you would have received an important text or email or phone call? Then you are no longer in the moment.”

I once saw a photo of a family party: everyone engrossed in their own smartphone, without attention to each other…
“Having to talk to someone at a family gathering can also be awkward. I understand that sometimes you don’t feel like it. Despite the promise of a social network, social networks are still meant to let you take care of yourself. Some people are good with their cell phones. They have been able to find a certain moderation or have their own. Well, they are blessed.”

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