CLUTTER I Q31.33, Q102.1-8

Those of us who have watched Oprah, or the satellite TV channel TLC will be familiar with people who have so much clutter in their homes, they can no longer live comfortably. They have a need to amass possessions and keep on doing so even when there appears to be no need for it. Their homes become unsafe and uninhabitable but they keep hoarding. They seem unable to click their ‘stop’ button.

We watch them and go ‘These oyinbo people sef!’ We wonder why these Americans have all sorts of strange problems. What we fail to see is how like these people we are.

Just as people clutter their homes, so do we clutter our minds with unnecessary information and data. We are addicted to the internet and waste several hours of our day trapped in the sticky Worldwide Web.

We loathe deleting non-useful contacts from our mobile phones; itch when we have not been online with the fear of having missed something; our eyes keep darting to the blinking notification light of our phones on the prayer rug as we pray; we look forward to our online friends more than our real-life friends…

We are essentially obsessed with being online. Let’s get real; what is the point in having all the info if we cannot utilise it? Why should we stack up on recipes if we can never make out the time to cook anyway?

Some of the causes and risk factors of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) are:
Boredom: from unemployment, Stay-at-home moms, ASUU strike, etc
Depression: from loss of a dear one, loss of job, break-ups, poor school performance, etc
Anxiety: from agoraphobia, low self-esteem, anxiety attacks, paranoia
Loneliness: from death of a loved one, divorce, break-ups, relocation, SAHM, etc
Availability of gizmos: smartphones, Ipads, laptops, PCs etc
Insomnia: funnily enough, 24 hr internet is one of the greatest distractions from sleep hence it worsens sleeplessness instead of improving it

Effects of IAD include:

• Inability to complete tasks both at home and at work
• Mediocre work from rushing to complete tasks to hurry to the internet
• Poor social skills as one would rather be with online friends than real life friends
• Distance from family and live friends and missing out on living real time
• Phone is slow, battery dies quickly and one is left incommunicado at inconvenient times
• Money is wasted purchasing extra batteries, more internet time, Wifi, gadgets, etc
• Difficulty in making simple decisions: eg. a patient comes in an you ALWAYS have to google to make a diagnosis. You cannot answer questions without a need to google first
• Accidents in the car, at home on the stairs, or involving the children due to poor monitoring

to be continued tomorrow in sha Allah…

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