Network Detox is a reflective endeavor led by our internationally known practitioners. We believe that Network Detox has become inevitable. Why?

In 2008, in a controversial article for The Atlantic Monthly (to which a full Wikipedia article has been dedicated), Nicholas Carr gave the worrywart, asking:

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Carr further argued that

(…) what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. (…) As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.

As of today, Carr’s argument–that Network usage and information overload reprogram cognition–has not been proven valid. Clearly, though: the Internet has changed the ways we keep in touch with our loved ones as well as with clients and colleagues, how we play and how we schedule meetings, shop or consume media content. In addition, we can search Online for, well, everything that can be searched … and come to think of it, knowing that one can or potentially could search for everything (and everyone, everyplace, everytime, everyevery) certainly can make us feel stupid. Or empowered. Or both, alternating in a dizzying fashion. Which then can make us stupid indeed. According to Global News, even Chris “Biz” Stone, co-founder of Twitter, recently told a Montreal audience that

some of the site’s users admitted to logging on to the popular social media platform for 12 hours straight. While it may be good news for the Twitterverse he’s built, Chris said that half a day online sounds unhealthy to him and that he’d prefer that users don’t sacrifice their lives to Twitter.

Next to the assumption that we are losing the capacity to take a walk without tweeting about it, think deeply and read, for example, one of those well-researched, in-depth articles in The National Enquirer or The Sun, in 2010, The New York Times reported the following in an article titled “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online”

The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

In other words: the Network may not only have started to make us think and act on Network terms, thereby, theoretically, sparing us time to do something entirely different–for example wash the car or the dog. No, in its evil subtlety, it is also consuming this very time we could have used so well to wash the car or the dog. We are not only thinking Network-like, we are the Network. Which makes only sense, how else would you want to build a network, stupid? On top, we haven’t even begun to discuss what games do to our constitution.

One of the pioneers of the discussion within academia, Neville Holmes, an honorary research associate at the University of Tasmania’s School of Computing and Information Systems, in 2007 expressed major concerns about the personal effects of video gaming and of digital technology per se in IEEE Computer Society’s flagship publication, Computer. In his contribution The Dea[r]th of human understanding, Holmes finds the following:

What worries me about videogaming is that it occupies players’ perceptions and reactions to the detriment of their contemplation and reasoning and thus hinders self-understanding.

And, ongoing:

The Internet’s digital technology seems to be replacing the understanding of things and issues that comes from contemplation and reasoning with a kind of nonparticipative transmission of facts. (…) The significant danger is that once the Internet and Web become so much more widely used through cheap mobile devices, the many more people using them, particularly the young, could become less understanding. In less-developed communities, where personal relationships are more crucial to daily life, lessened understanding could be disproportionately harmful.

Perhaps the problem is this: with the Network, we are feeling we are losing touch–if not with ourselves, then maybe with all the stuff not (yet) Networked. And, of course, with our cars and dogs. And with our cats, see our Play Off section. Hence, we, internationally known doctors, have concluded that we need to detox from the Network in order to seek who we are, or something else we have just forgotten what it was. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to make a quick buck off people’s Internet angst and the game addiction debate.

Eventually, in our love-hate relationship with the Network and all things technology, this endeavor serves both as self-ironic self-therapy as well as a gameful, critical approach to making the familiar strange (or was it the other way round?) and engage everyone into a debate about, well: the Network.

Yours Truly,

Your Selves.


PS: Check out this rather entertaining infographic by Column Five Media.