The Internet has changed our lives forever, and mostly for the better. However, it is very easy to allow its influence to overwhelm us; to the point we all but forget that there is actually life outside of the digital screen. Based on observations I made this week, I thought I’d share a list of signs that perhaps it’s time to unplug:
- You maintain a Facebook page solely so you know what’s happening with your family. It’s sometimes easier to keep up with events, photos, and memories by viewing them online than by actually calling or visiting. This doesn’t mean we are bad people, but perhaps it’s time to think about priorities.
- You know the call signs or player names your family uses for online game play as well as you do their actual names. When a spouse or child has used the same online alias for years, you get too accustomed to hearing it, to the point it’s like a part of their identity.
- Your husband gets alerts to the birthdays of his online squad mates (none of whom he’s ever met in person.) While online friendships can be great, they shouldn’t take the place of the actual people in our lives.
- Your husband’s usual contribution to necessary shopping is through ordering groceries, etc., from online dealers, like Amazon Prime Now. While it is sometimes more convenient to shop online, it doesn’t replace the satisfaction of finding the perfect item after an arduous search.
- You look everywhere for an Amazon gift card for a birthday gift, only to give up and order it, naturally, from Amazon. Honestly, you would think that grocery stores would have them; you can find gift cards for everywhere else there.
- Your son takes said gift card and considers using it to purchase a cook book devoted to recipes based on an MMORP (That’s massively multi-player online role-playing for those of us who grew up before the Internet) world. Yes, there is a World of Warcraft cookbook!
- You can’t remember family members’ phone numbers and addresses if something happens to your smart phone and you can’t access Google Plus. Or maybe that’s just my age showing!
- The only way you know about anything in news, weather, or the world at large is by seeing it in an online post or an auto alert update. Who has time to watch the news, especially with all the commercials!
- You find it easier to send an email to someone than to pick up a phone and call them. With an email you never have to worry about if they’re at work, or driving, or otherwise occupied, but it lacks all the joy of a personal connection.
- When Windows 10 is updating your laptop, you consider taking the afternoon off because you can’t get any work done. How did we ever survive without the Internet, with its constant and instantaneous ability to give us information on any subject we can imagine?
I personally rely on the Internet daily for so many things, including my livelihood, so I would never suggest it’s not a good thing, but like so many good things, it can be used in excess. Take time to unplug, and remember there’s a whole other world away from the screen.