I started to think about society and the humans who are a part of it… And I really think that, if we knew what we were doing, we’d act different. How many times have you looked back on your own life and thought, “Gee, I wish I could have changed that or not done that”. One of my favorite jokes is “If only I had some hindsight”.
In spite of the modern conveniences of technology and the Internet literally at our fingertips (like the video says), we are losing touch with the real world. Unfortunately, most people might look back on their lives and wish they’d lived more in the moment and less in their phones.
One of my biggest concerns is the “instant gratification”. Deep down in our hearts we might know that having it all – instantly – is not always a good thing. But we justify it because there are a few good things that come from having the Internet constantly at your side… i.e., directions if you’re lost, pictures of your nephews and nieces, recipes for a quick dinner…
I believe that on the whole, however, our Internet lifestyle is not helping us become better people, but instead threatening to take over our lives.
Are you in control of the Internet, or is the Internet in control of you?
Could you live without it for one day? Do you have enough will-power to live without it for one day?
Here are some reasons to try (for more, see the above video rap):
Smart phones and social media, in particular, are teaching us to be less present. Stats say that, on average, you’ll miss 4 years of your life because you’re looking down at your phone or at a computer screen. That blows my mind. 4 years!
The Internet is teaching us to be bad listeners. It is constantly flowing with information, videos, pictures, etc. There is always something to look at, always something to be entertained by. Since the outbreak of the smart phones, an average adult’s attention span is less than a goldfish’s.
Instead of more connection, it’s teaching us to more isolated. With social media, texting, skyping, you might ask, “Who needs real life, actual, face to face conversations?” Well, everyone needs real, physical human encounters. We are social beings – meaning, we are made to live in community. Isolation leads to depression, despair, and potentially, worst-case-scenario, suicide.
Instant Internet makes people more selfish. iPhones, iPads, iPods…it’s all about what “I” want. Our smart phones don’t help us serve others – they only help us serve ourselves. And, in turn, they help us get used to being selfish. It is obvious to me that our society has become in the habit of “being served” instead of putting others before themselves. Just look at the lack of corporal works of mercy. Look at the divorce rate. Look at abortion stats…
My husband and I recently got Internet in our home. We had been utilizing the library ever since we’ve been married – more for saving money purposes, but a little for helping our relationship as well. I wanted us to start creating family traditions and habits of spending time together without the intrusion of the Internet. However, since we’ve done well with our budget (Thanks Dave Ramsey!) and with the baby coming soon, we decided it could be a good kind of change to get the Internet.
Nonetheless, I want to make sure that the Internet works for us and DOES NOT start to take over our lives. We are in control and not going to become controlled by it.
So, one way I am planning to achieve this is by putting limits in place. I want to be able to “say no” when I want to say no.
How else can I do this if I don’t practice on a regular basis?
So, I am posing a challenge to myself and to all those who want to have a more nourishing life. It’s about creating good habits or changing bad habits. Like Matthew Kelly says, “our lives change when our habits change”.
Unfortunately, because we are habitual creatures, we don’t change easily. And even if we want to change, we often fail because our habits run deep. If we really want to change the fact that the Internet is our master, than we have to be intentional about how we use it.
My challenge is this:
Give up the Internet every Friday.
Since Friday is already a day of penance, there’s no better time to do it. Giving up the Internet, even if it’s just for one 24 hour period, will be difficult. I can guarantee that. It’s going to take some real guts and some real strength to accept this challenge. However, you’ll get extreme amounts of graces if you unite your sacrifice to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
This challenge will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. But I tell you that you are worth it. I can promise you that your life will change for the better because of it.
If you can’t do it, if you can’t say “no” to the Internet, then you are the Slave and the Internet is your Master. The Lord said, “I am the Lord your God...You shall have no other Gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3) Jesus said, “A man cannot serve two masters.” (Luke 17:13).
If you deny yourself just one day a week – if you say no to the Internet every Friday – you will strengthen your will-power to make good decisions in the future. Not only concerning your Internet behaviors but this practice will help you in all other weaknesses in your life. You will start to be “in control” of worldly things instead of being controlled by the Internet or other material possessions.
On the practical side, when Friday comes along, shut down your computer. Replace your “Internet time” with spiritual reading or prayer or any other good habit. If your phone is the problem, block the data for the day or just until you remember not to browse on Fridays. Post a sign on your fridge or at work or somewhere visible that can remind you of your commitment to make your life better: “Remember NO INTERNET on Fridays!” Heck, create a calendar event on your phone that says “Get off the Internet”, and repeat it every Friday several times a day. Pray to your guardian angel to help you remember your promise to sacrifice.
If you want to give up the Internet on Fridays but work a job that requires your involvement on the web or email, just keep it to work-related tasks. You can still strengthen your “saying no” power in this way. It might be a little trickier considering it is right in front of you, but it’s not impossible.
If you give in or forget, don’t get discouraged. Just try again.
Pass this message along to friends. I’m convinced that great things will happen if we stand together and sacrifice the Internet every Friday.
If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for starving children, for those being persecuted for their religion, for the end of abortion, for stronger marriages, or for any other cause. Sometimes, it’s easier to do something for someone else than it is to do something for yourself.
But I know you can do it! I believe in you!