Like a lot of teenagers, Yesica has spent hours and hours online, mostly chatting to her friends, some of whom lived only blocks away. Sometimes she found she couldn't stop herself from logging on, even when, hours later, she'd log off feeling like she'd been in a trance. Yesica knew she wasn't actually addicted to the internet, but she decided to take a closer look at what was driving this exhausting need.
Yesica was mentored by Ave Carrillo.
WNYC RADIO ROOKIES: THE INTERNET BUG
First Broadcast: February 23, 2006 REPORTER: Yesica Balderrama Running Time: 7:11 (including Host Intro) TRANSCRIPT (4 pages total)
HOST, INTRO: Last summer, Radio Rookie Yesica Balderrama started wondering why she spent hours on the computer, mostly chatting to her friends who live just subway stops away. She tried to stay logged off, but the lure of that screen kept pulling her back again and again. Yesica, who is 15 years old, knew she wasn't addicted to the internet but she wanted to understand why it consumed so much of her life.
Yesica, Narration: When I first used the internet I was like, yea sure maybe I could use it, and then I got hooked. And well, what can I say, I got "bugged".
(Sounds of Yesica typing on the IM a bug sound starts coming in and fading up)
Yesica, Narration: "The Internet Bug".
(Sound of a hand slapping a bug)
Yesica, Narration: T.I.B. for short. I remember that my dad got our computer, when I was twelve. At first I didn't eye it much, but then it dawned on me that almost every person in my class used a computer except me and this other girl. People were always asking me...
Girl: "Do you have an e-mail address?"
Yesica, Narration: And my reply was always no. A friend persuaded me to get an e-mail account and a screen name. Your screen name or SN is like your internet DNA, it identifies who you are, it's very, very important. I chose "what's it to you." Before I even realized it, I was spending a lot of time chatting online. It was so contagious...
Yesica, Narration: I started using my sn a little bit, then a little bit more, and then more. It got to the point last summer where I used to get out of bed to go online.
Yesica: Everyone is pretty much about sleeping right now but, I don't know I just have this really weird tendency, like I gotta get to the computer, I just feel like I gotta check my email.
(Sound of computer signing on and "you've got freaking mail"!)
Yesica, Narration: I knew it was a huge waste of time but I still did it. Usually, when I got off I felt funny... cause it's like coming out of a trance. My concentration had been fixed on the computer for such a long time that it was like I couldn't move, walk, and talk properly again. After spending so much time online I would usually log off feeling a little guilty. But I used the internet cause I had to, to stay in touch with friends.
Yesica: Uh... I am gonna go and ask my mom if I can go over to my friend's house on Monday.
Yesica, Narration: Over the summer it was really hard for me to arrange to meet up with them.
(Sound of door opening)
Yesica(in Spanish): Mo! Can I go to my friend's house on Monday?
Mother(in Spanish): Nooo!!
Yesica(in Spanish): But why not?! Itâ€™s the friend that is always calling!
Yesica, Narration: This time for example my mom asked me her name, address, telephone number.
Yesica(in Spanish): one, seven, one
Yesica, Narration: Whether she was a real friend? How she was doing in school?
Mother(in Spanish): Is she a real friend?
Yesica(in Spanish): Yes! She is a friend fro school I know her already!
Mother(in Spanish): And how is she doing I school? Does she get good grades?
Yesica(in Spanish): yes... she is doing very well at school...
Yesica, Narration: In the end I didn't even bother to ask her at all. It was so much easier to just stay at home and talk to my friends over the internet. Even talking on the phone was a pain.
(Sounds of children playing in the background)
Yesica, Narration: My little brother and sister are always fighting and the second I pick up the phone they cause chaos.
(Sound of television underneath narration)
Yesica, Narration: I live in Queens, NY, in a four bedroom apartment with my parents, my uncle and his friend and my two siblings. There is a TV in every bedroom. My mom watches the news every night in the kitchen.
(Sound of television show)
Yesica, Narration: This doesn't make things easier for me when there's always all this stuff about people getting murdered, raped, kids getting lost and stuff.
Mother(translated from Spanish): Yesica, you shouldgo out but you know that there are a lot of dangers in the street, you know we live in the city of New York. Everyday in the news, they talk about young girls who get robbed or raped or killed. Yesica, don't take it the wrong way. It's all for your best.
Yesica, Narration: They told me this last summer when at the same time they didn't like me going on the internet.
Yesica's Father(translated from Spanish): You are wasting your time, listening to music and looking up things not appropriate for your age and you are a kid.
Yesica (translated from Spanish): And what did you say I should be doing when I am not online.
Father(translated from Spanish): Reading, studying...
(Sounds of loud knock on door)
Yesica (in Spanish): OK, ok! I am coming...
Mother(in Spanish): All day in the computer?!
(Sounds of school bell and kids)
Yesica, Narration: Now during the school year I have more stuff to keep me busy and I can meet up with my friends more easily. When I get out of school, I call my mom, I ask her if I can stay out longer and she says "Yes." I try to figure out why she does this but she kept contradicting herself.
Yesica (translated from Spanish): When will you rather let me go out? During the summer or during the school year?
Mother(translated from Spanish): The school year. Because you learn more, you do something productive and you spend more time with your friends after your class.
Yesica, Narration: Some other day I asked my mom the same question and¦
Mother(translated from Spanish): during both it's a good thing if you go out during the summer and the winter.
Yesica, Narration: It doesn't make sense to me but for some unknown reasons she lets me stay out. I guess it depends on her mood. So I don't use the Internet that much anymore.
Yesica, Narration: Meanwhile, my friends they are just up and at it most of the time.
Yesica: So why do you guys feel the need?
First Friend: You don't wanna feel left out... which I do all the time.
Second Friend: You want to get attention...You have Xanga...Xanga
Yesica, Narration: But a lot of the people I know do use the internet. They use blogging websites where they go in and write about their life. Almost everybody has what's called a xanga account, or something similar to it. It's a normal thing to do. But then it gets kind of creepy when I am walking on the hallway of my school and my friend would say "look it's that girl" cause she has been reading her blog on line. So you have these people from the same high school who know about each other but they've never spoken before.
Yesica, Narration: I think things would be different this summer cuz I'm older and my parents trust me more. I don't think that I will have to use the internet again. I do have more things to worry about for the upcoming year. To tell you the truth I don't really like the internet much anymore. I mean, talking online isn't the same as talking to a person face to face. It's much more enjoyable and fulfilling in person, rather than having a thick glass and plastic machine with no emotions staring back at you and sending back replies. I mean sure there's the smiley faces and capital letters and other ways to try and reach across but nothing...NOTHING is better than the real deal, the real thing.
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.