As powerful as a tool as the internet is, our generation spends far too much time online. Anyone that knows me would argue that I have little right to say this, as I frequent the Internet just as much, if not much more than the average person my age.
This past summer I started looking at how much time I gave to the web and what I was actually getting out of it. I found that almost everything I did online was of little value, and that the Internet actually wasted more of my time than it saved.
When the Internet began, it was a tedious process of sending small amounts of information from one computer to another. Since the beginning, those that have access to the Internet have worked to improve it, and it has become a constantly evolving hub of potential. From personal to global use, there are always new things to be done or discovered, and there are now few who don’t have at least a layman’s knowledge of a web browser.
No matter how you connect, be it on your computer or cell phone, you have access to an incredible amount of data. You can get news, media, and sports updates. You can connect with people around the world, or tell a friend down the street what you had for lunch. You can buy or sell your possessions, and find out what others have to say about an item beforehand.
Since we live in a world where a majority of our peers are also connected to the data housed online, the Internet has become a very powerful tool for keeping up with our resources and each other.
We are a generation that grew up in a world that was connecting. While we can all remember a time when the Internet was more conceptual than real, we have fully integrated it into our lives today. Some of us go on once a month to check our mail while others seek to be activists and start revolutions. To varying extents, we all use it to connect to each other.
As a networked community, we have found ways to bring almost every part of our lives online in some way or another. Back in ’04, we got Facebook. Youtube in ’05, Twitter and Reddit in ‘06, Instagram and Pinterst in ’10.
Countless other similar services have cropped up, to the point where we have more and more reasons to hit the web and spend more time there than ever before. Even when we do go online for some research, or a quick update on the world around us, it has become incredibly easy for us to get distracted and lose countless hours while connected.
This is not inherently bad, especially when we consider how we’re using our connection. There is a lot to be learned, and good entertainment to be found. The Internet is a great place, and has led to much of the advancement our society takes for granted. Without it, we would live in a much different world. Yet for all its good, everything on it starts offline. Without going out and experiencing or doing, we would have nothing to share about in the first place.
So by all means, let us use the Internet. Let us connect with each other, and learn what we can when we’re online. But instead of giving it all our time, and refreshing pages we’ve scrolled through twice, let’s not forget to experience things firsthand.
Connect with people over food rather than a screen. Go to a performance or a game instead of catching the highlights in your room. After you’ve gone out and had a good time, by all means log back on and share it with the world and give feedback on what others have to say. Let it connect you the world, but don’t let it be your entire world.