I was recently contacted by Internet company, Broadband Genie, who were challenging a bloggers (i.e – obvious Internet addicts) to see if we could go without Internet for the day. I immediately jumped at the chance, as although I love the Internet and it’s a huge part of my life, I will be the first to admit it does take over sometimes.
I have started to realise the Internet doesn’t always make me feel great either….actually it can have quite a negative affect. Not only is it such a massive distraction from life and those around us, but there are two ‘ social anxiety disorders’, they believe the root of these are most likely connected to the Internet and social networking. The first is which is FOMO (Fear of missing out), the Internet paints such a rosy picture of life, everyone seems happy and always doing something fun, this gives such a distorted image of real life…FOMO can be interpreted in many ways from fear of missing out on fun times, feeling you don’t have the most enough/the latest possessions or are not as beautiful as those airbrushed glossy Instagrams. It all contributes to the rose tinted glass world of the Internet – Not real life at all. Nomophobia (fear of being without mobile phone contact) on the other hand is also a real problem, people are developing phobias and can’t leave the house without their phones and panic if they are away from them for just a few minutes…. this begs the question, is our technology helping us, or hindering… or should we just try and work on a healthy balance?
My balance is not always healthy. Just so you can get an idea of my life with technology here is a normal day for me…
6:00am – Wake up (and check my phone)
7:14am – Take the train to work, checking my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and emails on the way.
8.00am – 16:00pm – Work using a computer all day, my job involves surfing the internet and social networks, plus I have my phone on my desk too.
16:11pm – Train home, checking my phone, usually listening to a podcast, catching up with the days tweets.
17:00pm – Dinner – will usually watch TV on my tablet in the kitchen whilst cooking.
19:00pm – An evening at home would normally consist of a couple of hours blogging, reading blogs and social networks. When I’m not on my laptop, I’ll be taking blog photos or planning my next post.
22:00pm – Bedtime, usually I’ll catch up on Buzzfeed in bed, or read a book…. on my kindle.
Yep… it’s safe to say I use technology a lot, however I have to say I don’t blog every evening, so usually the other nights of the week will be relatively tech free! Especially if I’m out with friends or Vee, I do try and find a balance.
So, to take part in the challenge I had to wait for a day over Christmas (as my job revolves around the Internet) so at the weekend I made my escape….
My Morning – We woke up late with no alarm clock, it was lovely sleep in and let my body wake up naturally. I rolled over and realised I had nothing to do today which was the most relaxing beautiful feeling in the world. I never, ever take the day off to do absolutely nothing so I thought today I will treat myself. After dozing for a while I got up and made us coffee and some breakfast in bed. Normally I would read the news/blogs on my tablet in bed but instead I flicked through a magazine, and my new book (Christmas pressie) Andrew Marr’s History of the World. I did want to check my phone to see what everyone was up to, and usually our bloggers Whatsapp chat group is quite busy at the weekend but I relented and left my phone switched off. I’d soon forgotten all about my need to ‘check in’ and became absorbed in my book. I have realised that this ‘wondering what people are up to’ feeling is such a distraction (and a bit of FOMO), when I’m on my tablet I’m continually getting notifications of tweets, I never truly relax. Being able to switch off and lose myself in a book was utter bliss.
The Afternoon – In the afternoon Vee Vee and I went into Brighton to check out the sales, so it was pretty busy and didn’t notice the lack of technology. The only point I realised how dependant we are was when we decided to go to different shops and meeting back up meant we had to organise a place and time to reconvene. Being in constant touch with people I really do take for granted as I realised I’ve started to worry if someone doesn’t reply/pick up almost instantly. Oops, thats lesson number two from this experiment for sure.
My Evening – By the end of the day and a busy afternoon shopping I crashed onto the sofa, my first reaction would be to check my phone. I started to wonder what I’d missed during the day and even pondered what if there’d been an emergency and my family couldn’t get hold of me. I then realised Vee still had her phone switched on and anyone who needed me that badly could ring her, or my house phone….doh! With no disasters or emergencies and now self-diagnosed nomophobia too, we settled in for an evening at home and curled up in the dark with only the Christmas tree lights on to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1). Like my realisation with reading in the morning I realised I never really concentrate on movies anymore, I am always playing with my phone only giving things half of my attention. It was lovely to curl up together and spend some time watching the movie.
Bedtime – As the technology challenge was nearly over I again had to break habit and read in bed. I picked up my book and within a couple of pages started to get sleepy, much quicker than I normally would as usually my tablet keeps me quite distracted, plus they say the blue light your tablets/phones emit lowers the sleep hormone in the body too. I really think this effects me as I drifted off to sleep a lot quicker than usual and slept peacefully.
So, what did I miss?
Well, apart from the 247 Whatsapps, 20+ emails and 2 text messages. Pretty much nothing. The world didn’t stop, I didn’t miss out on anything at all. There was no emergencies or disasters, I didn’t get lost, separated from anyone or otherwise. In fact I had a much quieter, peaceful day, concentrating on myself and those around me. I was able to take time out to relax and gave things my full attention, and I really didn’t miss out on anything.
It’s been such an eye opening experience. At first, I thought it would just be a fun experiment but I’ve realised that technology is linked to a lot of the way we are in todays modern world and affects us in so many ways. I know in my heart I’ll always be an Internet-addict, but it doesn’t mean my life has to revolve around it. From now I’ll be careful to strike up a healthy balance with my lifestyle and Internet use, the biggest changes I want to make are to stop using my tablet in bed and read actual books (yep, retro I know) and to never feel like I’m missing out. Actually, I’ve realised I was doing it all wrong – when I’m staring at that screen, I am missing out, I am missing out on real life right in front of me, right here, right now, it’s got to stop.
Thank you to Broadband Genie for getting in touch with such a fun, eye-opening challenge, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my day.
Could you go without Internet for 24 hours? How would you cope?