The internet can be a wonderful tool when used for a purpose, but does it become a consuming factor in our lives? Do you get “twitchy” when you can’t check Facebook or Twitter? Are we becoming addicted and dependent on the internet?
After watching Paul Miller’s TED Talk, “Quitting the Internet for One Year,” felt a sense of camaraderie with Mr. Miller. I too often feel overwhelmed and distracted. I find myself checking my phone for updates frequently. I feel “stress” when I can’t access Facebook and more. I rely on the internet for some good things too like recipes and how-to directions.
Recently, we got rid of our satellite internet provider at home because, let’s be serious, it didn’t work very well and it cost A LOT! The timing could have been better, however, as I was starting a Digital Literacy Class. In order to be able to complete the class, I increased the data on my cell phone plan (which I share with my two daughters). I also checked out MIFI from our school that would allow me access to 10 more gig of data during the billing period. In addition, I changed my schedule to go into school to use their internet 2-3 days a week. With the increase of usage of data for productive things like my class, I simplified my other internet usage (and that of my daughter’s, since apparently my 13-year-old is an incredible “data hog!”
My simplifications include checking email only a couple of times a day. I actually turn the data off on my phone until I’m ready to sit down and focus on checking things. This has made me more “in the moment” with other things in my life because I’m not constantly distracted by notifications on my phone. My children are only allowed to turn on data for a set amount of time and only when I approve it. They are not very happy about that, but ….. what are teenagers happy about? During this time, I have also went places without my phone. It is invigorating to not be tied to that technology. It allows me to be fully “in the moment” with what I am doing and who i am doing it with. I have started making my children put their technology down more. Do we really need to be on cell phones or ipads when we are sitting in the same room? I think more “off-line” time is important to all of us. Bring back the family dinner and leave the Ipads charging.