The Life of Bon: iCRAZY- how does the internet affect your life?

Monday, July 30, 2012

iCRAZY- how does the internet affect your life?

Have you read this article on the effect of the internet on our lives?

If not, I recommend you do so.

I have been thinking some deep stuff lately.  Mostly about life and time and the way I use my time and what my life consists of.  I spend a lot of time online, especially this summer.  I've got some big goals with this blog and those goals require a lot of time on the internet.  A lot.   Naturally, I tend to wonder what the effect of so much time online is.

Last week I wrote a post on the pros and cons of blogging.  I talked about how much I love the blogging "community" but how I also feel a certain pressure to measure up to other bloggers.  I mentioned that I fear the blogging is not "real" and doesn't accurately portray real people.  The response to this post was phenomenal!  There were so many bloggers and women who added their two cents-  so many genuine responses, and if you haven't read up on them yet, well what are you waiting for?!?

This whole thing has been on my mind ever since, so when I saw this cover of Newsweek, my interest was immediately piqued.  I read.

Interesting things I learned in the article:

-The average American spends at least 8 hours a day looking at a screen.  Americans spend more time doing this than any other thing, including sleeping.

-More than a third of smartphone users get online before even getting out of bed in the morning.  (Are you guilty of this?  I know I am!)

-The average person, regardless of age, sends and receives 400 texts a month.  Teenagers send and receive 3,700 texts a month.

-The internet and mobile technology can help contribute to insanity.

-The more time online, the more the brain showed signs of “atrophy.”

-The brain of a person who is addicted to drugs and alcohol looks the same as a brain that is addicted to the internet.

-An article in the journal Pediatrics noted the rise of “a new phenomenon called ‘Facebook depression,’?” and explained that “the intensity of the online world may trigger depression.”  (Reminds me a lot of the "blogger effect"- not feeling as good as everyone else because of their seemingly perfect lives.)

 -Children describe mothers and fathers unavailable in profound ways, present and yet not there at all. “Mothers are now breastfeeding and bottle-feeding their babies as they text,”  said the article.

- The effect on high schoolers- adolescents who are still so malleable is especially profound.  According to the article, "This evaporation of the genuine self also occurred among the high-school- and college-age kids she interviewed. They were struggling with digital identities at an age when actual identity is in flux. “What I learned in high school,” a kid named Stan told Turkle, “was profiles, profiles, profiles; how to make a me.” It’s a nerve-racking learning curve, a life lived entirely in public with the webcam on, every mistake recorded and shared, mocked until something more mockable comes along."

- The article ends by saying this:  "…all of us, since the relationship with the Internet began, have tended to accept it as is, without much conscious thought about how we want it to be or what we want to avoid. Those days of complacency should end. The Internet is still ours to shape. Our minds are in the balance."

I'm not exactly sure what is meant by "The Internet is still ours to shape."  I did, however, read a quote by Marjorie Hinckley that really helped me put things in perspective.  She says this: 
"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are."
This helped me to think about my ultimate goals in life- strong faith, strong marriage, and strong family.  And I thought about how the internet is either contributing or not contributing to that.  I came up with a few ideas of things I could do to help "shape" the internet and these are them:

- Stay true to myself on my blog.
- Keep some things private.  There are some details of my life readers will never know about online.  There are triumphs, happinesses, fears, and insecurities I just won't give to the internet.  There is information I have that is personal and sacred, and I am going to keep this that way.
- Keep track of the amount of time I spend online.  Allow myself a certain amount, but when the time is done, get off.
-Make sure I am spending more face to face time with my loved ones than internet time.

How about you?  Does this trend of the internet seeping into every little part of our lives worry you?  Those of you with children, do you think it is important to monitor their time online, and if so, how do you do so?  Do you see the internet's growing pervasiveness in our lives as a threat?  Is it something you worry about or is it all being blown out of proportion?


  1. Wow, such interesting statistics. It really made me stop and think about what I am doing and what I need to do better at. Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. This is such a good post, honestly. I really like it. I definitely have some things to think about now. :)

  3. thanks so much for posting this. i've been having the same thinking with you about blogging. I'm gonna share and print out that article. good reading. thanks love.

  4. Anonymous10:39 PM

    So thoughtful. I hate to think that I contribute to that. I got an iPhone last month for my birthday and I have spent WAY more time on it than I should!

  5. This is a great reminder of "everything in moderation"...I have learned that when I let "indulgence" take over, it seems to never be worth it...ya know? The internet/screen time seems to have sneaked it's way into the fabric of who we are or who we want to be...that's a bit scary. I was especially struck by the stats around teens. Identity is already tricky, now we have this to address...and we should!!!!!

    Lots to think about here. I think my biggest take-away is to simply be AWARE of what I'm doing. The internet is so readily available, I often don't even think about how much time I am on it!

    Thanks for letting me process here. :)

  6. What a great article! Thanks for the synopsis. I'm online so much for my job and then I get home and get back on for bed at night on my iPad and first thing when I wake up. Yikes! I need to rethink some things.

  7. It is scary how much time we spend on the internet... I can easily spend 9 hours on a laptop at work & then come home and blog. I think it's something we all need to address and ensure that we have balance in our lives.

  8. Looking at my Internet usage without knowing my life circumstances, I'm sure it seems like I spend too much time online. But if you consider that until very recently, I was living in Toronto with a) no friends b) a job with odd hours that inhibited my ability to meet anyone c) no library card d) my boyfriend in another country and e) my best friends scattered across four countries... What else was I supposed to do?

    I think being online often under specific circumstances is very different than addiction, though. I was home for three weeks, and most days, didn't even turn on my laptop until it was time to skype my boyfriend at night. I was too busy reading books, hanging out with my family, and running errands. When I'm actually with my boyfriend, I might turn on my laptop long enough to check my email, and that's it. I even announce on facebook that I'm going off the grid to spend time with him.

    The concern for Internet addiction comes when you're replacing real-world interactions with your computer.

  9. I love that quote by Marjorie, especially the last line!

    I don't have kids yet but I do fear what the world will be like when I do have them! I am very much in love with my phone but I am not overly obsessed the way I see some people fact the other night, my bf and I were out to dinner and at the table next to us, the parents were on their phones the entire time! I was shocked that the kids didn't have phones but it was instead the parents that were addicted. It really made me sad to see that families can't even go out and enjoy each others company anymore without a smart phone getting in the way. I'd love to raise my kids the way I was raised, which was independent of excessive technology!

  10. Wow, just your post on this article is fascinating. I might have to go get Newsweek and check it out. I know I spend FAR too much time online, especially during the summer (I'm a teacher as well- although I teach elementary kids, not high schoolers, but I think you're brave!).

  11. I still spend a fair amount online (shame shame) but I've noticed that since my son has hit a more busy stage of life (yes, 6 year olds have a more complicated schedule than most adults I know LOL!) that my online presence and blogging have taken a hit.
    I'm okay with that though. I have blog friends who I love interacting with and if that is all who reads my blog, I'm good. :)
    Now I have to stop being addicted to other blogs so much (like yours LOL!)

  12. More often than not, I find myself online, but recently I've started giving myself a curfew. After a certain time, I have to "disconnect." Sometimes it doesn't always work, but most of the time it does. I hope to keep it up. Internet and other things that keep you connected are sooooo time consuming!

  13. My job is entirely online, so I spend 10+ hours per day staring at a screen. It frightens me that my brain is atrophying because of how I make a living. It doesn't seem worth it, and yet...what else is there?

  14. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm following back! This is such an interesting topic & one I've thought quite a lot about in regards to my own life! Since having a baby it has made me realize how much internet, phones, TV, etc are in our lives! I have had to make a conscious effort to reduce my usage while my little one is awake. Yes I have been one of those moms who's giving a bottle & texting but that's also just how our world is now and I don't feel like a weaker mom because of it since I know how much face time I do give to her. As a speech therapist it's very evident to me when parents do/don't spend quality time with their kiddos! Basically my husband & I decided that we were not going to give up our internet, iphone, tv-loving lives but we were going to realistically customize it to our new life with a baby! We do have a pact though that we will not be one of those families where the kids are on their games/phones the entire time at dinner and no one says a word to each other!! No way!! I look forward to following your blog!
    ~Brittany (

  15. very interesting. im guilty of looking at my phone & checking email in bed when I wake up...its really bad. sometimes I miss the old days when there wasn't so much tech.

    xo Kelly

    PS. Don't forget to enter my H&M Gold Layered Necklace giveaway & check out my new linkup!

  16. woof.... I'm feeling all sorts of bad about myself right now. I think I spend 12 hours a day on my computer. Right now I'm watching the Olympics, reading your blog, and texting friends. I need to reevaluate.

  17. I am so glad you found the article Bonnie!! I personally have internet addiction, as do many of my friends, and I am trying my best to scale back and enjoy being in the 'real world' more. Because it is better out here! But as a blogger and travel writer I find I need to be online a lot, so I am trying to balance the when where and how. I gave my ipad away to my mom as I didn't feel I needed yet another gadget. So that's a start!