Attempting an internet detox for my brain

August has not been my best month ever. It definitely wasn’t the worst either, but I had a lot of days where I honestly felt pretty crappy. The land of low moods, anxiety, stress and self-doubt.

When I feel like this, I notice myself slipping into some unhealthy internet patterns. Things like:

  • checking the news over and over
  • scrolling through Twitter for ages
  • binge-watching YouTube for hours at a time

These habits are part cause and part effect. I definitely don’t think they’re entirely to blame for my rubbish moods, but the first two can spark or exacerbate them. While YouTube doesn’t tend to make me feel more negative, it often distracts me from doing something that would actually help me out. And when I’m feeling down, it’s a lot harder to exercise discipline around using them.

I want to try to break free of this cycle, so for September I’m going to attempt a sort of internet detox. I am not doing this to boost productivity or anything like that (you know my thoughts on this). But I am hoping it’ll help with my general wellbeing.

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A tour of my YouTube subscriptions

A few weeks ago I was talking to some friends about how much time we all spend watching YouTube. “I’d hate to know how much time I waste on it,” I said. “I bet it’s awful.” Then someone told me that you can actually check this in the app. I immediately declared that I was never, ever going to check because sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Today, I gave in and looked. On average, I spend more than an hour a day watching YouTube. This was kind of sobering. An hour is a good chunk of my time, especially my leisure time. It’s more than I spend doing any other hobbies, like cooking, reading, playing games, watching films, or exercising.

So, what exactly am I watching?

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The Onion’s Sex House is now our reality

Screengrab of Sex House title credits

Here’s a pitch for a reality show: move a group of young, attractive, single people into luxury accommodation. Cut them off from the outside world and deprive them of any entertainment beyond social interaction. Use overtly sexual challenges and nudges from the producers to encourage them to act on their attraction to each other. Other reality shows may pretend to be a social experiment, but this one has no illusions about why the audience is really there: we want to see people hook up on television.

Today, this show is ITV2’s monster hit Love Island. But back in 2012, this was The Onion’s Sex House.

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