I remember when internet went down at work, suddenly all my coworkers heads went up from their machines and we stared at each other for a moment. I let out a sigh. A few minutes passed and the network guy came over and said that it would be down for a while. The workday was over and we all went home. In the profession of building online courseware without the internet we cannot work, it’s that simple. How did people live and work with filing cabinets and phone calls?
That is just the professional part of my life, the other part of my life is also online, I watch streaming movies and when I’m not in front of my computer I’m usually found looking down at my iPhone, checking my Facebook and emails. I can say that a majority of my waking hours I’m on the internet, I might be able to say that a majority of my waking life has been spent on the internet.
This is even truer for young people, all they know is the internet. Their consciousness is the internet or rather entwined with the internet and internet points and the identities that they carefully groom for the world to see online. I recently read that the average teenager spends 9 hours a day using the internet in this country. That is more time than they spend in school.
Now I have to ask myself is this a problem? I’m just not sure, I can say that I’m not bored most of the time, I remember before he internet there was a lot of boredom, even when I’m at a restaurant and my wife goes to the bathroom I try really hard not to look down at my phone and after 30 seconds I start feeling antsy or bored, I’m not sure what I’m trying to prove, am I trying to show the rest of the world that I don't have to look down at my phone, or maybe prove to myself that I don’t need to, but as soon as I do it feel normal and good.
This is a complicated subject that I can spend hours and pages contemplating. I just know that once in a while we need to unplug. It’s that simple, for me it’s my hour and a half running and hitting the gym and days spent backpacking in the woods. The world of the internet is real, those are real people and feel feelings flowing though the screen. I’m not going out on a limb for saying this, but there is real value in knowing when to unplug. It does not have to happen for a year like Paul Miller had done but it needs to happen on a regular basis to find that balance that all humans desire.