I was looking for info on soldering irons to share with a friend. She came over to help me pack for an hour (I’m moving) and asked, “What’s this thing?”
“It’s a soldering iron!” I said.
“What’s it do?” she asked.
“It melts a little bit of metal, to join things together. It’s kind of like welding, but way more low key,” I said. “I think some people use them for making jewelry.” I didn’t mention electronics or circuit boards.
“Have you used it before?” she asked.
“No, not yet,” I said. “I think Ming gave it to me…”
“Well, if you ever use it, send me a picture of you using it!” she said.
Days later I looked up soldering irons. Mostly there were links to soldering irons to buy. I wanted an explanation of what they are and how to use one. But I decided to look at a review.
A window popped up blocking my use of the review site. It said something like, “We have worked hard to gather this info for you. Please consider disabling your ad blocker to view our content.”
I was annoyed to be blocked from the website. Often I share links with friends and will bring others to a site. So it doesn’t even behoove them to block me–they’re decreasing their own traffic.
Then I was thinking about disability and adverts. Why do ads bother me so much? Often they’re made to bother people–annoyance means getting someone’s attention, a better chance of being seen, and so a better chance of their product being purchased.
Adverts wear me down and take my spoons. My eyes are overly drawn to some of them, and I lose energy quick. Gifs hurt me, almost physically. I don’t watch movies or tv, and I don’t listen to the radio or podcasts, partly to avoid adverts.
The internet is creative and a good place for me to interact with people. It’s lower stress than other kinds of socializing. Ad blockers are part of my wellness and health. So it bothers me, when my surfing, learning, and sharing are interrupted.
I use the internet in a way that creates content as well as consuming. I wish I could get a free pass with adverts, out of some kind of fairness, or disability justice.
Thank you for considering that ad blockers can be part of disability access. Some people have minds that need only certain kinds of input.
It makes me think of service animals, assistive devices, and access needs. Taking away our choices to dodge unwanted stimuli is harmful to us.