What is it about the internet that sucks us in? I sit down for a moment just to check e-mail and before I know it an hour has gone by. I log in for a five minute Facebook check, but those 5 minutes turn into 30. We bring our cell phones to the dinner table, and two texts, one call, and five updates rob us of precious time with the people sitting in front of us.
Technology is a mixed blessing. I love being able to access information, music, or entertainment and stay in touch with my family via the internet. But internet use can easily take on characteristics of addiction, sabotaging our productivity and relationships and even muffling God’s voice in our lives.
This prayer rings out clear and true:
“Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” (Psalm 90:12, MSG)
As part of my effort to live wisely and well, this month I’m examining my internet use, so that I can say no to technology overuse and yes to a more effective, fulfilling, life.
My job as a home schooling mother is unpaid and unsung, but it requires concentration and focus. It’s amazing how much more on track I stay when I give the first hours of the day to school with my kids without turning on the internet.
What would happen if on our next girlfriend date or family dinner we turned off our phones? They create a need to be plugged into updates and available to any interruption, so we miss our chance to invest fully and love on the people in front of us.
Increased Spiritual Sensitivity
Last week I spent a day fasting, and God prompted me to fast from my computer as well as from food. Instead of turning on the internet during free moments, I actually sat down to pray. My spirit came more fully alive, and I felt in-tune with God. When I finally turned on my computer for the first time at 7:00 p.m., I hadn’t missed anything earthshaking.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to tame the internet monster, but here are my thoughts:
- Commit to time with God and His word every morning BEFORE I turn on my computer.
- Reserve the first and best hours of the day to working internet-free.
- Schedule times to open e-mail or social media. (Why be a slave to checking facebook updates?)
- Preserve the sacredness of family dinner by leaving cell phones in another room.
- Love on my friends and honor them by unwiring myself during our time together.
- Turn off technology an hour before bed each evening.
- Fast from the internet one day a week.
- Talk to my kids about setting reasonable limits for themselves.
Life goes by quickly, and I want to live wisely and well. I want to say yes to working more effectively, loving on the people in front of me, and making God my number one priority.
What do you think about sane limits on internet use? Do you struggle with this? What solutions work for you?