It starts innocently enough. You want to see the new Sia video. Or maybe learn how to apply a perfect winged eyeliner. So you head to YouTube and type your benign destination into the search bar, never knowing the terror that the next few hours could hold. Before you know it, it's 2 a.m. and you've been watching reviews for a new motorized foot scraper for the past three hours. You've fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole and were lost among vlogs and kittens and over-dubbed G.I. Joe PSAs.
It's all right. It happens to the best of us. Admitting it is the first step towards recovery. YouTube spirals are universal. This guide to the stages of being sucked into a YouTube black hole will help you realize where you are in the process of defying the space-time continuum and losing hours staring at your screen. Early realization is key in breaking the binging pattern.
Stage 1: The Innocent Search
Perhaps it's a how-to or a new music video that brought you here. It will be a quick visit. Watch the video you came to watch and go on about your day.
Stage 2: The Follow-Up
But wait. The mascara they used to fan their lashes perfectly. There has to be a review of it. What other videos has this person starred in? A quick search will yield more information.
Stage 3: Related Videos
But why search, when YouTube has so conveniently placed all related videos in a handy sidebar? A quick slip of the mouse and an effortless click and you're on to the next.
Stage 4: The Watch Next List
With all of those inciting videos in the side bar, how will your ever keep track of what you want to watch? Yes, that's it. Start a Watch Later list. Fill it with allll of those videos. Hours worth of videos. Deeper you go.
Stage 5: The Moment Of Realization
A brief moment of sanity washes over you and you realize your situation. This is your turning point. You can close your browser and back away from the machine. Or you can click through one more time, and, with each click, get farther and farther away from your original search.
Stage 6: The Decision To Ignore The Moment Of Realization
You click again...
Stage 7: A Glance At The Clock
Your eyes drift quickly to the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Can that be right? Has it been that long? Is there a tear in space and time that you and your laptop have mistakenly drifted through?
Stage 8: The Final Straw
You've made it too far into the Internet and you've finally reached your breaking point. Watching a pimple extraction, a Five Finger Death Punch cover of "The House of the Rising Sun," a vlog of what a magician in Utah ate that day. Whatever it is, it's pushed you over the edge.
Stage 9: Denial Of Wrongdoing
There's nothing wrong with spending this much time on YouTube. You've learned things. You've learned how to make DIY room fragrance and how to bevel the edge of a chisel. You've even started a series on how to refinish your dresser to make it look like the wardrobe to Narnia! This was good. This was education.
Stage 10: Complete Acceptance
This was a mistake. You have to be up in four hours. You have to finish that series...