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‘Wilfing’ and the Wife

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'Wilfing' and the WifeI sit down at the computer, resolved to work for the next six hours on a dozen incomplete projects. Instead, I begin reading about the Virginia Tech massacre, watching videos of dogs, cats and otters, and checking on a hundred recipes for mint julep. By the time I feel tired and want to take a nap, I realize to my horror that I haven’t even begun on my work, and two hours have fled by! In today’s world, I am hardly exceptional – just another victim of ‘Wilfing’ or aimless searching and surfing on the internet.

“I spend all day at office on a computer, and so does my husband,” says Hemalatha, who works in an insurance MNC. “But when we come back home, we have a completely different approach. I want to unwind with TV after dinner, or talk, listen to music, tidy up a little, go to sleep. I don’t want to have anything to do with the computer! He picks up his laptop after we eat, and then slides into some world of his own. Nearly every night I have to beg him to come to sleep – its not healthy that he should have such a late night every day, then get up early to go to office. I feel totally frustrated with the computer and the net at times. Something or the other will keep him hooked – online games, chatting to his course mates from PSG Tech, watching some videos – I don’t know how to break his habit.”

Hemalatha’s husband Sathish is only one of many young men for whom their laptop and the internet have become the most addictive pastimes out of office, just as they are the most essential elements in office. “I don’t deliberately try to shut out our conversation or anything,” says Sathish, about his wife’s complaint. “Its just something I’m used to. I don’t have so much interest in TV. We are just talking about our usual daily routine and problems after dinner – nothing much, and it gets over fast. After that, I just want to relax a little. If the computer is my only source of relaxation, what can I do?”

The couple does not yet have the responsibility and reward of children in the home – something that will definitely bring about a change in lifestyle! But the predicament is oddly familiar. To the present generation, the internet has become a completely taken-for-granted presence that has begun to dominate one’s living hours, in a sense. MSN recently featured a video on the rise of child usage of the internet through websites that specifically target them. Now 6 to 8 year olds have ‘social networking’ sites of their own to make friends online. If these are preventing them from making friends in the playground, this is one more factor for present day parents to deal with.

A recent survey declared that people in Britain are spending an average of two whole days in a month online. This time is not all spent on productive activities, but more usually on ‘wilfing’ or ‘what was I looking for?’ the new pitfall for net users. The statistics show how we have to work hard to retain our sense of balance when it comes to internet use – like every invention and technological advance, this marvel too has its side effects, and we have to learn to deal with them. If not, there may be a world war soon between wives and ‘wilfers’!

May God strengthen your internal resolve against aimless surfing!

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