Every day, I spend more and more time on the Internet. I write documents, open Facebook, create spreadsheets, play videogames, peruse Facebook, read the news, browse Facebook, and send emails.
Then I check Facebook to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
A friend once told me that humans could have solved cancer in the amount of time we’ve played Angry Birds. If I were any good at science they might have a point—according to my phone I’ve been pecking at pig strongholds for over 30 hours.
I’m being strangled by a series of tubes.
I’ve tried to disconnect myself, and it never works. I once completely shut off the internet on my computer. I felt really proud of myself until my phone buzzed and I couldn’t resist seeing who had brought something to my attention on Facebook. I had lasted all of six minutes before my dreams of Internet independence crashed around me.
Is it even possible to disconnect from the Internet?
Physically, every time we walk into Staples, millions of WiFi signals are pumped through our veins by the conveniently located wireless routers across the building. In the same way, Facebook is constantly attacking my phone with notifications. And once I log onto the 24-hour news cycle, breaking out of the loop of politicians and lolcats is incredibly more difficult.
So I decided to talk to my friends who don’t have Facebooks—all three of them. But instead of the antisocial and drama-deprived husks I was expecting, not a single one has the slightest regret about not having a Facebook. In fact, they have a lot in common, namely more free time than I could ever imagine.
After talking to them, I realized that the key to separating ourselves from the Internet is changing Facebook from an entitlement to a reward. When we have to earn our right to slack off, we work hard to achieve it, as counterintuitive as that sounds.
I decided to set apart one hour in my day as my personal “No Internet Sad Hour.” Between four-five o’clock, I decided to close Facebook and turn off my phone. It was one of the most miserable, boring, and productive hours of my high school career. The best part was breaking the fast. I felt so much better checking Facebook when I didn’t have the weight of undone homework hanging over my head.
So for those of us who have “dabbled in the Reddits,” decided to build a Minecraft fortress, or Stumbled Upon one too many ways to waste time, there is still hope.
Who knows, I might even hit that recommended eight to 12 hours of sleep target for once.