Thursday, January 19, 2012

A week with no internet, tv, video games, computer games or netflix...will we survive?

As a family, we are going to go without the use of the Internet, television, video and computer games or netflix for a whole week. We all know that less screen time is a good, healthy thing...but most of us don't regulate it for ourselves or our families as much as we should. It's just so darn easy to let kids sit in front of the t.v. or the computer to keep them's even easier for us Mom's to plop ourselves in front of either of those to escape our messy lives for a few minutes...or 20...
During the coming week, I we will allow ourselves about 10 minutes every morning to check our e-mail and I will be blogging, but that is where it ends. There are many reasons I feel we need this technology break, most of which I will blog about. Today, though, my thoughts are focused on one of the main reasons I, personally, need the break.
There are several things I just do not like about the Internet. First of all, it's so easy for people to find support and encouragement for things that should NOT be supported nor encouraged!! There are completely evil things for which people find resources for on the Internet which I will not go into here and for which I find it heinous that our society allows...but the pure anger and hatred that oozes out of me about such subjects is not pretty, so I will not go into further detail.
Oh wait just a minute...Brighton and Duncan are playing in (and possibly drinking) the doggy right back!
Okay, disaster averted! Back on topic...
The biggest issue I have with the Internet is the isolation it creates. This is counter-intuitive since most people go onto social networking sites, blogs and discussion forums in the hopes of providing themselves with a social outlet. It can be fun to post here, comment there, LOL here, follow there...but then, without much warning, a feeling of aloneness can overcome you. Interactions on the Internet are easy, mostly one-sided, and lack emotion for the most part. It becomes too easy to read between the lines and assume what a person *might* be saying, rather than taking their words at face value. The Internet creates the image of peoples lives that are mostly rosy and pretty, hardly showing the messiness and hardship of every day life. There is a certain type of perfection that is created through this 2-D experience that is hard to live up to...actually, it's probably impossible to live up to.
Even when people post or blog about the "realness" of their every day lives, I find myself thinking things like "ya, but with a home that looks like that, it's not really all that bad!" or "ya, but with a body like that, your life could never really be all that tough" or "ya, but with as much money as you have to be able to decorate your home perfectly, have your kids dressed to the 9's and afford to so many nice things for yourself, those crappy times of your day aren't nearly as crappy as the rest of us normal people experience!" Is this judgemental of me? Yes, I'll admit it is. And I think this is where the isolation of the Internet comes in.
You can't see the whole picture. You can't hear the tone in someones voice. You can't see the emotion flash in their eyes. You only get little glimpses here and there...and you realize, this is what other people are getting of you. When someone reads my status update or a recent blog post, they are seeing my words but not really seeing ME. People, myself included, are already so prone to making assumptions in real life, the singularity of the Internet presents a million more opportunities to fill in the blanks about someones life and the things they say, think, feel and do.
This fact bothers me to no end, and yet, I find myself falling prey to it over and over. I go through periods of time where I post on facebook, pin on pinterest, read blogs and peruse the Internet regularly only to have to back way off because of the isolating feelings I let it create in me...the feelings of inadequacy based solely on my view of others; how better they are at raising their children, homeschooling, keeping house, decorating, chatting, being fit and healthy, cooking, being funny, and...pathetically much more they are liked.
And maybe this post is just all me....maybe I am creating this isolation all by my own doing and my own perceptions and assumptions....but the pressures are so be perfect. To live the perfect life complete with trendily dressed, crusty-free kiddos wearing coordinating outfits in a super styl'n family photo; to have a model-home-esque decorator touch through out your home...all the decor made by yourself from ideas you found on-line, of course; to have the most smok'n hot bod that looks like a fit, athletic 17 year old with long, flowing locks; to have healthy meals prepared with trendy ingredients like quinoa, kale and greek yogurt; to be politically aware and involved; the list could on and on.
Don't get me wrong, I have gotten lots of wonderful, inspiring ideas from the Internet and have both forged new friendships and fortified existing relationships, for which I am truly grateful. The wonder and glory of Google has led me to new and valuable knowledge that I could not imagine living without. I love the ease of keeping in touch with loved ones, finding a recipe for dinner, and watching my favorite show all through the wonders of the Internet. But there comes a point when it's healthy to just back away and experience life without the easy insta-escape of the Internet....and experience how I truly feel about myself without the influence of the Internet and all the pressures to be "perfect." I'm looking forward to the things I will learn.
It's not going to be easy...without technology there is going to have to be a lot more family togetherness and involvement...the kind that takes actual energy and effort...the kind I used to shower my family with back in the "old days" when I stuck to my guns about very, very limited screen time. I'm looking forward to rediscovering the "old me" in the process. :)
So, sit back, get comfy and follow our journey over the next week as we rip our hair out in boredom er, I we forge new, healthier habits and relationships that don't involve screens.