I told you that we were planning on being mostly unplugged while on vacation. It turned out that we didn’t have internet where we were staying, so we were even more unplugged than we had originally planned. It was very good, though, and I learned several things.
I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would.
There were a few times it was downright frustrating because we were trying to find information. However, most of the time it hardly phased me that I was missing out on all the information the internet has to offer. I was ready to get plugged back in, of course, but at the same time I enjoyed the freedom of being unplugged for a week.
Internet is potentially addicting.
One valuable lesson I learned is that when it wasn’t available at all, I didn’t even think about what Twitter and Facebook updates I was missing. I didn’t worry about the blog posts I had not read. When I got back, I realized immediately that once I was in the flow of instant information again, I suddenly felt like I needed to have the information instantly.
When I am connected, a couple of hours without some type of information or communication seems like a long time. When I didn’t have it all, I hardly noticed that I went days without it. Instant communication is a great thing, but when you have it all around you, you begin feeling like you need more of it, and you need it faster. It was good to take a break. Surprise, surprise, the article that came out the day we got home. Apparently the internet really is addicting, and it is not such a good thing. Read Is the Web Driving Us Mad? If you have children, please think now about setting them up on a path of good internet habits. The internet addiction problem is only going to get worse.
Internet is draining.
Often when my kids go down for naps I jump on the internet for awhile and check out blog posts and articles. These are certainly valuable, so I am not stopping that altogether, but I did realize that when I just sat down with a book, it was a lot more relaxing. My brain had time to digest the information. Instead of jumping from one topic to another as fast as I can read an article and move on to another, I had time to let the topic of the book digest. I had time to ponder and think. There is value in quiet. Our brains need the quiet, too.
Internet is a really good tool.
Don’t worry, I am not all down on internet. In fact, more than ever I am seeing the incredible value of the internet. I think it is amazing how we can connect with people all over the world, and have so much valuable information literally at our fingertips. I love all the possibilities that internet has brought us. From working from home to start-up businesses, people are doing things today that none could dream of fifty years ago. It is an amazing tool that I am grateful for.
But don’t forget the 3D world. Don’t get so consumed with online relationships that you neglect real life relationships. Take the time to connect with your spouse, children, family members, and friends without stopping every few minutes to check what is going on in the online world. And give your brains a rest. We cannot continually bombard ourselves with information without it having some type of negative effect.
I am pretty connected on a day-to-day basis (though I don’t have an iPhone, so some would think I am in the Dark Ages!), but I do think there is great value in intentionally unplugging every now and then. Some people take one day a week to be unplugged. Others choose certain hours of the day for an unplugging. But do unplug. You won’t regret it.
What do you do to keep a healthy balance of enjoying the benefits of internet without letting it consume your time and energy?