By @SimonCocking, review of  Breaking The Feedback Loop : How I Liberated Myself From Internet Addiction, And How You Can Too, by  A.N. Turner  with Ben Beard. Available from Amazon here

Young adults (and plenty of not-so-young adults) are addicted to the Internet. No surprise there. It’s easy for parents and teachers, politicians and pundits to brush off Internet addiction as a harmless, inevitable consequence of the digital age, a small price to pay for carrying the information super-highway around in our pockets. But what if I told you that young adults (and plenty of not-so-young adults) are stuck in a feedback loop of digital sexual stimulation, addicted not just to the Internet but to pornography and social media? And what if I told you that the consequences of these addictions may be quite dire—ranging from depression, anxiety and ADHD to sexual dysfunction and violence? And what if I told you that, as far as social media companies and pornography producers and anyone who advertises on the Internet is concerned, the feedback loop is exactly where we belong? This book pulls readers out of the matrix. Part manifesto, part autobiography, part self-help roadmap, Breaking the Feedback Loop is a concise, essential guide to porn and social media addiction written for young adults and anyone else suffering at the hands of the Internet.

Online activities, and the time we spend doing them is definitely a challenge, and all the more so for those who are too young to remember a time before seemingly everything was online. This book details some more extreme but perhaps not too uncommon experiences that are afflicting many people and especially the younger, millenial generation. The frequency of porn usage has also been covered well in a few excellent TED talks as well as here in this book too. This has damaging effects on the ability to conduct normal, healthy relationships for many people. The first section of the book effectively illustrates how notification anxiety is a growing issue and the importance of us become more aware and proactive in how we deal with this. The next part of the book delves specifically into the challenges of a porn related, over exposed, over stimulated environment, detailing for example how the author almost misses a flight due to a companions inability to self regulate his desires at key moments – such as boarding your flight!

It is a thought provoking and interesting book. In some ways it might have been interesting to look more deeply at the wider challenge of notification anxiety, rather than solely on the porn related aspects, but then again this is a deeply personal book and these are the issues that the author was facing. Either way it is still a useful contribution to raising awareness about the massive challenges that potentially being online, everywhere, all the time can bring for all us and how we live our lives. The author is still very young too, so it will be interesting to see what they do next too. One to watch.


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