One of my resolutions for 2017 is to limit my time online. It seems I’ve finally got my fill of screen-staring stupor. Instagram and Facebook apps have been deleted from my phone and 4 out of the 7 news sources I used to check are also gone. And wonder of all wonders, I can no longer check my email from my phone. I’m FREEEEEE!
I didn’t have the courage to actually close the accounts yet (technically, I could download them again and jump right in), and I kept FB messenger on my phone so I can still contact people and they can still contact me. I still have G-mail on my computer so I can check my email from there if needed. So, I haven’t completely cut myself off.
The one reason I have NOT made these changes is to set myself up as an example. Just want to make that clear.
In summary here are the two main reasons for this change:
I’ve found that spending too much time on the internet, checking IG or FB, reading or even re-reading news articles, retards my thought life. Much of the information found on the internet comes in short, underdeveloped snippets of thought. It was common for me to read something interesting and say to myself, “Hmmm, I have to think about this.” And then, SWIPE, on to the next article. Reading on the internet seems to short-circuit my thought process. It inhibits daydreaming and disallows time to cultivate ideas and just let thoughts unfold. There’s certainly a time and place for brevity in information gathering, but a steady diet of it…not so much. Better to actually study a subject or read a book to get a more thorough understanding.
The second reason has more to do with social media. I came to realize that IG and FB only give the illusion of personal relationships. The nature of social media casts such a “wide net”, it kind of gave me an excuse (although unintentional) to skip the hard work it takes to connect with people. I believe the hard work is worth it. I understand that social media can be a way of keeping up with what’s going on in the lives of family and friends, but what we post on social media is only a shallow representation of life. Better to contact people directly by text, a phone call, a note or card sent by (gasp!) good old snail mail, or when possible, face to face.
Also related to this reason, I found that my phone took away from enjoying life in the present. How many times did I miss a beautiful sunset or look away from a precious grandchild in order to fumble with my phone to capture the moment for immediate posting on social media. Why? Better to enjoy life’s blessings singularly and give them my full attention.
These are just the two main reasons. There are many others. Lots of junk online, especially on Facebook. There’s also the fact that I want to simplify my life and avoiding too much time online seems to lend itself to that goal.
And then there’s this: I only have 20 or 25 years (Lord willing) left on this earth. Do I really want to waste more time than necessary staring at a screen?
In order to successfully stick to my resolution, I know that the most important thing is to exercise self-control. This means controlling the urge to re-download (is that really a word?) apps or reach for my phone every time I have a spare moment. May the Lord give me strength to do so.
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel