Top 3 Reasons for Failing Out of School, #1

Alright, here goes – the last post we’ve all been waiting for:

Reason #1: The Internet.

I believe it was fairly obvious that the last two posts were leading up to this – because let’s just face the facts: there wouldn’t be Facebook or online video games without the almighty Internet. (Yea, we could say there wouldn’t be the Internet without, say, the almighty computer, and the computer wouldn’t be working without electricity, but let’s just keep this at just the internet for now).

So what’s so distracting about the Internet?

Well, if you’re reading this right now, and you’ve glanced at my last two posts, certainly, you must have some sort of idea. 

Simply put: there’s a billion and one things you can do online. Almost anything you could want to do in person, you can also do in front of your screen. 

According to the site, WorldWideWebSize.com (which is apparently dedicated to keeping a daily estimate of the size of the internet), there are ~14.79 billion pages onlineSo if one of the online websites or activities don’t suit your taste, certainly, you’ll find something else out there in one of the other 14,789,999,999 pages.

So why don’t we compare and see how much you know about the Internet? Below is a list of the top 15 most popular websites on the internet – how many of these 15 names do you know? (If you don’t know a site, I’ll have the explanation written beside the name in white-coloured text – simply click and drag to highlight the text in my post to view it).

So here we go!

The Top 15 Most Popular Websites (as of March, 2013, according to eBiz) are as follows:

yahooyoutubewordpresswikipediatwittermsnlinkedingooglefacebookebaycraigslistbingaskaolamazon

In order from the least popular to the most popular:

#15 – LinkedIn  a social site for business-related interactions, and job-hunting/employee-hunting. 

#14 – Ask – a site for asking and answering questions. How much more straightforward can it be?

#13 – AoL   a popular medium for instant messaging and social communication.

#12 – Woohoo! It’s WordPress!  (You’re already here! You’re still expecting an explanation?)

#11 – Craigslist – a site for buying and selling goods and services within your community.

#10 – bing – a news source, and search engine similar to Google. 

#9 – Twitter – if you don’t know what this is, it’s probably better to stay away from it.

#8 – eBay – a site for buying and selling goods, locally, and internationally.

#7 – amazon – another site for buying and selling goods.

#6 – msn – a site for instant messaging, watching videos, reading news, and e-mailing. 

#5 – Wikipedia – an online encyclopedia that can be edited and updated by anyone and everyone.

#4 – Youtube – a site for watching and uploading videos.

#3 – Yahoo!  a site just like MSN, which offers instant messaging, news stories, e-mailing, and videos.

#2 – Facebook – If you don’t know what this is, which rock have you been under the last few years?!

#1 – Google – again, enough said.

How many did you know?  (I knew all 15). Certainly, you must now understand why I can be so easily distracted by the Internet. There’s just so much to do! Obviously, though I’m not on all 15 of the websites above, Youtube, Facebook, Google, and msn videos do take up quite a bit of my free time. And of course, there are many other websites that I visit on a daily basis too – aside from Courselink, Gryph Mail and Next Bus, there’s always websites such as Instagram, Hotmail, 9gag, Reddit, Sound Cloud and GrooveShark for sources of entertainment. These sites can be even more distracting when I’m trying to avoid working.  

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Moreover, since everything on the internet is so instantaneous and up-to-date, even in the time it takes for you to take a potty break, dozens more videos and news stories would have been uploaded and available by the time you returned. In fact, even while typing this blog (on March 26, 2013), I wound up receiving an email from Youtube, telling me that Alex G (an artist I’d subscribed to on Youtube) had just uploaded a new video, and I’d gotten distracted by it:

And from there, I wound up browsing Alex G’s other videos and listening to this for the millionth time:

Then I added this video to my list of favourites, and the list of previously favourited videos popped up on the side and ooh… looky! It’s one of the videos by my favourite comedian! Better watch that video again too:

So are you distracted by Youtube yet, or is it still just me? Click around a few more times on Youtube. One video always leads to another. And then oh! I got a Facebook notification! Now I’ve been distracted from my distraction. 

Distractions, distractions, distractions.

So really, it’s no wonder so many kids, teens, and young adults nowadays are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – in this new tech era, there’s just so much to do, and so little time – you might as well have given us a thousand candies (or 14.79 billion candies, to be exact) and then reprimanded us for giving into temptation and eating a few. How could anyone possibly pay attention to school when there’s so much more interesting stuff on the internet to look at?

Now excuse me while I get back to browsing Youtube, creeping Facebook, and listening to music on Sound Cloud, while waiting for my League of Legends game to load. 

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~ angiee

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eBiz. (2013). Top 15 most popular websites | March 2013. eBizMBA Inc.
http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/most-popular-websites

Kunder, M. (2013). The size of the world wide web (the internet). Word Wide Web Size.
http://www.worldwidewebsize.com/

Top 3 Reasons for Failing Out of School, #2

So here we go again – more reasons why I might be failing out of school.

Reason #2: Video Games.

“Great… a follow up from the last post… Angie’s got to be telling us that she’s failing out of school this time because she spends too much time playing video games…”

Unfortunately… Yea.  That’s pretty much the case. But let me take a stab at explaining why that might be. First things first, however, let me point out that when I talk about video games here, I’m talking about PC games (games that are played on a computer), and not console games (games that are played on a console such as an Xbox, Playstation, or Wii). While console games are also very fun, the basis for its addictive nature is different from PC games – for example, many PC games are multiplayer online games with no predefined endings (there’s no “beating” these games), whereas many console games are games intended for solo-play, following a story-line that can be completed.

In any case, here it is – my list of excuses for being addicted to video games:
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Excuse #1: Feelings of Confidence, Accomplishment & Self-Worth.

I think this excuse is pretty straight-forward, and is the basis for many of the other excuses. Unlike many goals in life which may take months or even years to achieve, video game goals are much easier to complete. As Video-Game-Addiction.org puts it, simple things like “beating the level”, or “beating the high score” can get you hooked, as completing these little tasks will generate feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. Moreover, since the majority of PC games are MMO’s (massive multiplayer online games), this offers gamers the chance to compete and compare themselves with other gamers, which helps to generate feelings of confidence and self-worth, as there will always be someone who is newer to the game (or is simply worse at the game) than you. Feelings of self-worth can be further compounded by the way in which games will always portray you as a hero – someone of importance. I mean, try playing this heroic theme song in the background as you merely run downstairs to grab a snack from the fridge. This song belongs to Riot Games Inc., who owns League of Legends, but it is similar to a lot of the battle music which plays in the background of many other video games – it’s so epic it actually makes your mundane task seem important, and makes you feel heroic!

Regardless, I must admit that personally, being the competitive dork that I am, it is the feelings of accomplishment from winning (i.e. simply being better than someone else) that keeps me playing.
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Excuse #2: Game-Makers Are A**holes.

Okay, so this one’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m sure many gamers out there will agree upon this sentiment. Game-makers are evil – they make a living off of their games’ players, so they want us to be addicted to their games. Now obviously, no gamer is dumb enough to be straight-up addicted to a game because its makers are cold-hearted, money-stealing, jerks – what we are actually addicted to, (back to Excuse #1) again, is our feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. We play a game to get good at it, so that we can feel good about ourselves. And the game-makers know this. And they play us on it in two different ways to keep us online: 

  1. Though many of these games advertise themselves as being free-to-play, what they forget to mention, is that the game is actually free-to-play, and pay-to-win. That is, you can play the game for free, but if you want to get any good weapons or items in the game, you’ll either have to pay with real money, or play for weeks to get the same thing others could have gotten in seconds with a credit card. And even if you opt to play for a few weeks, by the time you get one in-game item, the wealthy would already have purchased three or four items. So essentially, you can either pay for your free game now, or if you’re like me, you can stay online for a few weeks (and probably wind up paying for something else later).
  2. Again, since games thrive by making money off of its players, game-makers want you to be constantly playing their game. So what better way to do that, than implementing a system in which loyal players are rewarded, and unfaithful players are punished? Many games nowadays have systems in which they actually give you bonus items for logging in everyday for an entire week – and these items will, in turn, give you a significant advantage over the (unfaithful) players who don’t have this item. Other games (like the ones I play), will even go as far as to punish players for being away, by, for example, making your score (or your rank, or your amount of in-game currency) decrease exponentially for every week of inactivity. Moreover,  as Dr. Conrad (clinical psychologist for tech-addiction) puts it: “the virtual world continues to evolve even if the player is not online”. That is, players will fall behind by being away. So if you want to get good at a game, you better stick around.

Excuse #3: Social Connections 

There are actually two reasons why social connections could easily get someone addicted to a video game. First of all, where shy and socially-awkward individuals may struggle to establish social connections in the real world, the virtual world offers you a virtual character to hide behind, thereby giving you a chance to establish the social connections you couldn’t obtain in person (Novotney, 2012; Conrad, 2013).

Second, many video games encourage team play to achieve common goals – this often establishes a sense of team commitment, and thus a sense of responsibility for remaining loyal to your team (i.e. you need to stick around to help the team progress) (Conrad, 2013).
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Excuse #4: Escape from Reality & Feeling In Control

Since virtual games allow you to hide your less-spectacular self behind your virtual character, what better way to get you addicted to a game than to make you fall in love with your character? Many games nowadays offer you the option of personalizing your characters to make them look just the way you want them to. By day, an average gal with glasses, frizzy hair, and braces, but by night (i.e. online), a sexy, dragon-slaying elf girl with long blonde hair, and un-proportionately large boobs! Or maybe elves aren’t really your thing, and you’d rather be a gorgeous red-headed, leather-clad assassin (with an equally, un-proportionately large chest). Or maybe you’d like to be a fox girl? Or a robo-chick? This is just four, out of hundreds of other options. What are you in the mood for today?

Janna from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc.)

Janna from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc., http://na.leagueoflegends.com/champions).

Ahri from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc.)

Ahri from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc., http://na.leagueoflegends.com/champions).

Katarina from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc.)

Katarina from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc., http://na.leagueoflegends.com/champions).

Orianna from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc.)

Orianna from League of Legends (Riot Games Inc., http://na.leagueoflegends.com/champions).

Point is, you’re in control. You choose what you want to be, and if it doesn’t work out, deaths are never permanent in games anyway. You’ll re-spawn in a second. Or you can restart and make a new character. So rest easy. Go ahead and feel good about your sexy self when strolling out into your virtual battlefield.
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Excuse #5: Real World Rewards

This one’s got to be the most obnoxious excuse of them all – the fact that it’s actually possible to gain real world rewards for playing video games. World-wide tournaments for e-sports (electronic sports – i.e. competitive video gaming) actually offer top players a chance at fame, money, and/or sponsorship agreements (i.e. free computers, or other tech items) from leading gaming tech companies. And truth is, this idea is incredibly appealing to us gamers – who wouldn’t want to be paid for playing a game they love? And don’t go dismissing these world-wide tournaments as small little nerd-gatherings either – you’d be surprised at how large the gaming industry is! Check out the opening ceremony for the League of Legends Season 2 World Finals:

Point is, the fact that people can make money off of a game (as unlikely as it is), can be a very strong drive for people to spend more time online, and get good at their games.
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For a better perspective of some of these excuses that I’d mentioned, try checking out this video, which was made by an addicted, World Of Warcraft player:
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So there we have it. Between all these reasons, how could a girl not get addicted? Gaming feeds my needs for feelings of confidence, control, accomplishment, and  social connectedness. And maybe if I play long enough, I’ll even become the first female gamer to make it to the big leagues. Hah! So if you really think about it, a video-game-addiction is really no different from facebook-obsession – in the end, everyone is just addicted to
 attention.

For more information about other causes for video game addictions, check out Dr. Conrad’s list of 15 reasons, here.

 

~ angiee

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References:

Conrad, B. (2013). Why are video games addictive?. TechAddictionhttp://www.techaddiction.ca/why_are_video_games_addictive.html

Novotney, A. (2012). R U Friends 4 Real? American Psychological Association. 43(2): 62. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/02/friends.aspx 

Video Game Addiction. (2012). What makes a video game addictive?. CRC Health Group. http://www.video-game-addiction.org/

Top 3 Reasons for Failing Out of School, #3

Facebook blues (Hughes, 2012).

Facebook blues (Hughes, 2012).

Reason #3: Facebook.

Let me first start off this post by explaining awesome Facebook is – I mean it’s great: it gives me access to games, to friends, to a million pictures of my cousin’s cat – what more could I possibly ask for?

Now you might be thinking: “damn… browsing through a million photos of cats must take a while… and given the title of this post, Angie’s probably just going to tell us that she’s struggling with her studies because she spends too much time on Facebook…”

Well think again. The fact of the matter is, I don’t spend much time on Facebook – yet I still get no work done because of Facebook. So despite Facebook’s unrivaled awesomeness, we’re currently in a bit of a love-hate relationship. 

You see, Facebook offers many things: you can play games, you can post pictures, check-in at the bar with your buddies, rant about doing a certain blogging assignment in your status update, and share every perfect detail (we tend to leave out the less perfect details, of course) of your life – Facebook can give you a taste of the celebrity, red-carpet treatment.

Facebook can put you in the spotlight.   

… Just like it can for anybody else. And well… let’s just say that not all of us are happy with just having our own spotlight. Some of us want to be the only ones with spotlights.  

 And voilà. Facebook Depression.

Facebook Depression, as explained by Grace Chou (one of two co-authors of a study on Facebook depression), occurs when seeing other people live a good life, makes you feel like your life isn’t good enough. In particular, this occurs when:

1. Viewing other people’s Facebook statuses/pictures gives you the impression that they are constantly living happier lives than you are  (since they are unlikely to post unhappy photos of themselves) (Chou & Edge, 2012).  

2. A lack of Facebook activity (i.e. lack of friend requests, notifications, likes, messages and so forth), or being shunned by your peers online, makes you feel as though you are lacking social connectedness (i.e. makes you feel like you don’t belong) (Pappas, 2012).

3. You feel the need to stay online, and you start losing real-world connections (Hughes, 2012).

4. Comparing yourself to others in terms of achievements/appearance/etc., makes you feel less capable, less attractive, or less confident in general (Pappas, 2012).

Unfortunately, research shows that this ridiculous first-world problem becomes more prominent as one spends more time on Facebook and/or gains more Facebook friends – as this increases their chances of being exposed to happy statuses/pictures, thereby making them more likely to feel worse about themselves (Chou & Edge, 2012; Pappas, 2012). 

But you see, my problem isn’t simply a matter of me staying online, feeling like I don’t belong, or getting upset when I see pictures of others being happy/having loads of fun. My problem is with #4 – the comparison. 

I’m the type that likes to compare. And after some comparing, I’m the type that starts taking things to the next level… 

I’m the type that starts getting competitive.

Oh, you’re going to a resort with your friends? What a coincidence – me too! And I’ve got plans with my friends tomorrow… and the day after… and the day after that too. I’ve got plans every day. My life is, hands down, much more spectacular than yours. I’m way more socially connected than you are.

And there you have it. My drive to be better and live a more spectacular life than others has got me feeling the need to go out on a daily basis, even if I have no particular reason to be out. I’ll try to see my friends every day – even if it means we’re only sitting in someone’s living room together and doing our own thing, on our own laptops. (Ironically, even as I typed this post, I wound up making dinner plans with some friends, and heading out for several hours, before finally taking my laptop to my friend’s place to finish this post in her living room).  And when I do see my friends, I’ll take every last opportunity to check-in with them, wherever we are, just to prove that I’ve actually got people in my life. Though who it is exactly that I’m proving this to, I’m not sure.

Now thanks to this Facebook-driven obsession for going out everyday, I get no work done. My to-do-list grows on a daily basis, and my list of completed tasks is next to non-existent. 

Is this immature of me? Hell yes, it is. But that doesn’t stop me. Nor does it stop anyone else. In fact, thousands, if not millions, of people, obsessively post about their lives on Facebook on a daily basis. And I’m quite certain that very few of us do this for the sake of keeping a daily journal for ourselves. (Why would you post things publicly if you don’t want anyone else to see it?)

Most of us use Facebook for the attention. Because deep down (whether you want to admit it or not), we’re all just attention-hogs.  

Which is exactly what makes (and keeps) Facebook so popular. It’s officially the era of the self-absorbed – who’s got time for school when there are pictures of my breakfast to be posted?

Mark Zuckerberg, you are an evil genius.

~ angiee

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References: 

Chou, G. & Edge, N. (2012). They are happier and having better lives than I am. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 15(2):117-121. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2011.0324

Hughes, J.E. (2012). 5 signs that Facebook makes you depressed. Phoenix Forward: Student Life – University of Phoenix. http://www.phoenix.edu/forward/student-life/2012/05/5-signs-that-facebook-makes-you-depressed.html

Pappas, S. (2012). Facebook with care: social networking site can hurt self-esteem. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/18324-facebook-depression-social-comparison.html.