Though I am a fan of technology, I would not consider myself an addict. Yes, I love wasting time on Pinterest and playing games on my phone, but I have always prided myself on having no trouble putting away the modern devices to spend quality time with friends and family. So, at the idea of going Internet free for a weekend, I thought ‘Sure, why not? Easy.’ Let’s just say I underestimated the difficulty of this task.
In the days prior to my Internet free weekend, I imagined myself curling up with a novel, organizing my bedroom, and perhaps watching some television; all things I typically intend to do with my spare time, only to get distracted by the lure of catching up on emails or scrolling through pages of social media sites. I was optimistic about this undertaking. After all, I was not even attempting to go technology free, just Internet free.
Then the weekend came. I realized how quickly my optimism would deteriorate when I explained to a friend that I would be managing this task by watching lots of Netflix, only to quickly realize that, oh right, Netflix is accessed via the Internet. This was not a good sign.
Over my Internet free weekend, I was smacked in the face with just how much I rely on the Internet without realizing it. If I hear a song on the radio I love, I often buy it on iTunes through my iPhone while the song is still fresh in my mind. I was tempted to do this twice during the weekend before remembering that iTunes was off-limits. To find out movie showtimes, what the temperature is, what the latest news is, or even to check my Starbucks card balance, I typically use various apps on my phone that require Internet access. I greatly missed such luxuries no longer accessible due to my lack of Internet.
It was not all bad, though. I felt abstaining from social media sites was particularly enjoyable, as they are the easiest way to unknowingly lose half a day. And though I wondered from time to time what was being reported on my beloved celebrity gossip sites, I found it easy to do away with visiting those sites as well. I get much delight from such websites, but abstaining from them was a nice reminder that there are more important things than reading ‘Who wore it best?’ debates.
So how did I spend my time Internet free? I played many, many rounds of Scrabble (board game + words = love). I saw Star Trek with my family. And I did in fact curl up with a novel, organize my room, and watch some television (just not on Netflix, of course). I diverted my eyes away from my laptop, away from my cell phone, and enjoyed some simple pleasures instead.
This undertaking simply made me more aware of how I spend my time on the Internet. It is perfectly fine to spend some time browsing the web. It is something I enjoy and if I have the time, why not? The important lesson I learned from my Internet free weekend was to make sure that my Internet usage does not distract me from spending time with loved ones or carving out quiet time to read or write. I survived my Internet free weekend. I’m not keen to try it again anytime soon, but I survived nonetheless!