We’ve all done it: spent hours sitting on the sofa scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with nothing to show for it except a vague sense of annoyance and a film whose plot you haven’t followed. The internet is an incredible tool that has changed the world beyond recognition, so surely there are better ways to use it than judging your old schoolmate’s holiday snaps, or trying to ignore your uncle’s questionable political opinions?
From seeing the stars to visiting independent casinos, UK internet users have plenty of online options available to them that do not involve social media.
Watch movies and TV
We all know there’s a vast amount of film and TV content to stream online, thanks to subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus, but the internet has also helped thousands of amateur and experimental film makers get their work to a wider audience.
You can entertain yourself with a big budget blockbuster or YouTube video, or educate yourself with a TED Talk, a short lecture about Technology, Education or Design, which are always engaging and informative.
Online games are just as varied as offline games in terms of genre and play style. You can make friends and create worlds across the internet with an elaborate RPG fantasy game like World of Warcraft, or unwind after a long day at work with a glass of wine and an hour or two of Scrabble.
If you can enjoy a spot of gambling without playing to excess, there are thousands of online casinos available for you to play at, whether your game of choice is poker, slots, or games of chance.
Knowing which of these casinos to visit (and which ones are legitimate) can be tricky, but for a comprehensive list of the best independent casino sites in the UK, visit Fruity Slots. They’re an online casino comparison site that also provide in-depth reviews.
Visit art museums
What more interesting and illuminating way to spend an afternoon can there be than visiting some of the world’s most famous museums from the comfort of your own home? It might seem like science fiction, but through the magic of the internet, it’s entirely possible.
You can see the Renaissance Art of the Louvre in Paris, the historical masterpieces of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and then top it all off with some of the dynamic works showcased in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Talk about a fulfilling day, and you needn’t change out of your pyjamas.
Tour the Earth
But why limit yourself to the world’s museums, when the entire planet is open for your perusal?
Thanks to Google Earth, you can visit almost any spot on the planet and have a good look around. Go back to the streets of your childhood, or fly over to a world heritage site to see what all the fuss is about. Many of the locations come with a linked Wikipedia article, so you can learn all about the history of the place you’re looking at, which is sure to keep you occupied for hours.
Tour the solar system
There are some things humanity never thought it would see: storms on Jupiter; oceans on Europa; mudslides on Mars; night and day on Earth captured in a single image. In the last 60 years, probes have visited comets, asteroids and every planet in the solar system except Pluto, and the pictures they sent back are truly spectacular.
Part of the wonder of the internet is that these photographs are available not only to scientists and astronauts, but to anyone with a working Wi-Fi connection. Thanks to the internet, the stars are no longer beyond our reach.