Thursday, January 24, 2013

My love/hate relationship with the internet.

Lately, I've been getting headaches every day. There are several factors playing into this, of course, including caffeine (both too much and too little), lack of sleep, the need for a new mattress, and a very loud 3-year-old. But I've also noticed that I often get some of my worst headaches when I'm on my computer or iPad. I sit down to check my email or pop on facebook for a minute, and there at the top of my browser, are those blank "New Tab" buttons (I use Google's Chrome). Before I know it, I have multiple windows/tabs open with my email, facebook, pinterest, a news website, a favorite blog and who knows what else. And instead of concentrating on one, I find myself flipping back and forth between them all. It's not long before I realize that I have been on the internet for a solid hour and don't have much to show for it.

My brain is imploding on itself. It's got so many things that it's trying to look at, read, or figure out that it simply starts to hurt! I notice I feel tired and cranky too. And then, I feel frustrated that I've wasted so much time. [Even in the midst of writing this blog post, my fingers keep wanting to jump up to those tabs and open a new one.]

Why is this??

If I want to do some cleaning during the day, or a homeschool lesson, or a children's craft, I hop onto the internet to get ideas. Yes, sites like Pinterest are really helpful sometimes when I genuinely need an idea or want to save a great recipe. But I can't help but feel like the internet has created a sort of "learned-helplessness." Not only do I feel as though I need to find the "perfect" way to do something, but I always doubt the decisions I make on my own because someone out there on the internet always seems to know how to do it better. And it turns into a vicious cycle when the original reason I got online is lost as I go through the routine of checking my email, my blog, my facebook, etc. More time wasted.

I wish I could just "turn off" the internet for weeks or months, but it's not so easy. For one thing, we live in Japan. The only way to communicate regularly with our family and nurture a close relationship between my children and their grandparents, is through the internet. And yes, Facebook is such a time-suck. But when you're on the other side of the world, Facebook is really helpful in catching up with friends and family when you can't just pick up the phone and call them (everyone is asleep when we're awake over here!).

So how in the world do I find a good balance? I feel as though I almost need an internet-detox. I often wish I could just do without it for an entire week, to reconnect with the real world around me, but I'm honestly not sure I could do it.

Does anyone else ever feel this way?


  1. Yes! All the time! You are one of the few reasons I still have a facebook. You are definitely not alone!

  2. Totally. All the time. More than anything else, it reminds me of a large person trying to lose weight -- he can't just give up food altogether, and that's what makes it so hard. Same with the internet. You just can't turn it off altogether -- it's how people communicate! But, as you say, you sit down after breakfast for a quick email check and all of a sudden it's 10:30 and half your morning is gone!

    I don't have an answer, though. I know it's moderation, but how to get there is still a puzzle to me.