Regardless of how similar people’s lives may seem on the outside, everyone’s reality is different. Everyone has different struggles, fears, and experiences, differentiating one’s perspective on life. Some people seem calm and composed, while others are anxious and stressed. Regardless, there are moments in life where everyone feels extremely sad, stressed, or anxious. It’s only human to experience such emotions, but how we deal with them is what dictates our future well-being. When dealing with emotions, many people are unsure about how to calm themselves and tackle the problem. Instead, we try to solve our problems by pretending that they do not exist. A large majority of people use various methods to escape the reality of their situation and avoid dealing with their emotions. These methods are closer than we think because most of us have probably used them either knowingly or unknowingly to deal with our own issues.
Internet as an escape
The internet abyss is unfathomably large and difficult to leave; once people enter, they find themselves stuck in the internet’s rabbit hole.’ So, what makes the internet so compelling as a form of escape? According to an article on Medium.com, when people find problems unsolvable or relationships to be unfulfilling, the internet provides one with immense comfort.
Let’s take, for example, social media. During unprecedented times such as the present, social interaction has decreased significantly. Many people have suddenly found themselves home alone or speaking to a computer screen instead of directly to humans. The need for real interaction can be a strong driving force, as many people now look to social media as a way to feel connected. Though that in itself is not necessarily bad, social media becomes a problem when people use it to escape from the present. The monotonous motion of scrolling and reacting numbs people’s minds from the real situation at hand. When we think of the internet, YouTube is usually what pops into people’s minds. YouTube is an online platform for people to post videos and content of any genre. You can find adventure vlogs, family channels, or challenge videos that YouTubers upload.
The YouTube algorithm allows new videos that have the same content you enjoy watching to continuously pop up on your feed or to play automatically after you finished one video. What makes these videos so addicting is the ability to live through someone else’s experience. Daily vlogs, family channels, and couple channels all allow outsiders to look into their relationships. As mentioned previously, when people find that relationships in their lives are unfulfilling and problematic, they look for a way to escape.
YouTube videos are the perfect escape as it allows those to feel all the emotions as though they were in a relationship themselves. For example, channels that display a healthy romantic relationship or a dynamic family are followed by many people on YouTube. This is due to the fact that online videos usually present the best side of any situation, so for viewers looking for an escape, they have found the perfection that they have always craved in their reality. It’s unhealthy to live through someone else’s relationships as you are only pushing away your own emotions and feelings, but oftentimes it is difficult to realize the complexity behind internet addiction.
Books as an escape
Books as a method of escape are not known to many. Simply because reading is presented as a positive habit. Yes, reading is beneficial and an important skill to have, but it depends on what kind of books one is reading. Books can transport one to another world, providing people with a sense of journey, adventure and fulfils a longing for experience through an interesting story plot. Novels are excellent at giving people the desire for something more than a mundane life; for example, Harry Potter provides the possibility of abundant magic hidden in plain sight. Online novels are also gaining popularity, such as Wattpad and Webtoon. These platforms provide immersive and fantasy-like stories, appealing to hidden desires in people’s minds. For example, Wattpad is known to have fanfiction stories or plots that are as far from reality as possible. However, the ability to read out a story that ‘could be someone’s reality addicts many people to read books to escape their unhappiness.
Video Games as an escape
Video games are an activity that stimulates the senses. You must be able to listen, watch and process the screen at the same time to decide and put to action your moves in a game. The detailed graphics, personalized characters, and intriguing plot make video games a completely different world. This requires one to use their mind, free from other thoughts, to win at the game. Other problems get put to the side in order to accomplish a level and succeed. The feeling of being able to solve a ‘problem’ in the form of winning a game is addicting and pushes people to escape from real life by winning in video games. A video game can often be two dimensional, providing a clear problem and solution to players. However, the reality is more complex as emotions and other people often impact one’s situation. Disconnecting from reality to solve problems and to feel the rush of dopamine is enticing for people who do not feel that they can solve such problems in reality.
Using such methods to escape reality is almost like putting an ice pack on a broken ankle. Once you use the method, you feel numb from the pain. But once you remove the ice pack, the pain returns, and your ankle is still broken. At the end of the day, one must come back to reality, making such means of escape only a temporary solution to one’s problems.