Talking About The Internet On The Internet
You aren’t going to be unhealthy having fast food once or twice a week. It becomes unhealthy when you are doing it all the time. It is a balancing act. I do a lot of things digitally myself for various reasons. Though I know I need to go outside and enjoy the world as well as see what is going on at times, I also have places I want to see where the internet being the primary focus would take away from the experience.
I remind you though that because of my mental illness and social isolation as a kid, I have a hard time socializing like most people do. I am working on that by going to a local coffee shop to work on my computer in hopes that someone might strike up a conversation. For others, setting a time to step away from the computer and go socialize without using digital media would be a good thing.
Even video games can be a social event if you do it correctly. I remember having a large group of friends over and playing Super Nintendo with two controllers. We would talk and joke about what happened on screen as well as share the controllers. We all kept interactive with each other during those events. When it was warm and sunny out, we went outside and played other games as well. There was a balance to it.
I know a lot of teachers want papers typed up now and even give reading assignments that are digital. Given all of that, we are spending more time at the computer, but there is still time to go out and get fresh air during the day. Especially in the city where there is a city park right nearby everyone’s house.
Also, being a member of National Geographic, I feel some bias when I encourage people to go explore their local state and national parks, as well as museums. I know sounds boring, but it can be quite fun when you give it a chance. You can discover things that you wouldn’t expect to in those places. I know one place I want to visit that I don’t get to very often is the aquarium. There is something soothing seeing the ocean life there as well as relaxing, and the only thing I can see using my phone for there is taking pictures. I am one of those people that are recharged by being in nature.
The internet can be good and bad. It all depends on how it is used and in what moderation, depending on the balance you need personally. Establishing a good balance early on is a good thing as well. Limiting internet time during the day and before bedtime is good for kids as well as being involved in what they are doing online. Though this can be harder during the teenage years, it is worth the effort to do so. I have nothing against reading digital books before bed, though some professionals suggest against it. If you read digital books before bed, make sure the device is offline and that reading is the main focus on the device with password protected internet that you have to authorize each time.
Kids need to know how to do things the old school way in the event that a catastrophe befall us and they have to rebuild everything someday. Hence the reason they are in school. Even as I find Google to be helpful for many things, I still know how to use a card catalog and the Dewey Decimal System.
Also, while professionals say it is good to get homework done right away while it is fresh in the mind, I look at after school as a time to relax and be outside more when it is still daylight. Homework is meant to be a reinforcer of school, not just a regurgitation. Kids need to get outside more in the present age when there is daylight for mental and physical health. Especially, in a country with an obesity epidemic and juveniles with higher rates of depression than previous generations, Vitamin D is important. It’s acquired primarily from sunlight and is a key factor in fighting depression.
That doesn’t mean homework isn’t important, just that it can wait until after dinner when it is dark out or the sun is setting, when kids are supposed to be indoors. Even then the hour before bed should be reserved for reading either digitally or regular books depending on personal preference. I say this since I try to do it myself to help unwind from the day and relax away from the soap opera we call life. Even kids have drama in their lives of some sort. As do we, so much that we try to limit it. Whether it is a worry about a loved one or friend, or thinking about what is coming up for us the next day, reading takes us away from that all. For most people becoming a reader is just a matter of finding that first book that speaks to them and then finding books by the same author, in the same series, or similar subject matter.
Some people socialize easier at times when on the internet than in person. For me, that is just part of my mental illness and sociological issues, though one should always work to try and achieve a better balance of a social life than having the internet be the main focus.
Though it can be difficult at times in this age of ever increasing digital information and use of technology, it is important to keep in touch with nature as well as people in real life. Along with seeing other things that might only be in museums when possible. It doesn’t mean the internet is bad or should be avoided completely, but in moderation as well as certain safeguards including involvement should be taken when kids and teenagers are using the internet. After all, they are not ready to make certain decisions for themselves and we are meant to be their guides to life in a major way. After that time is up, it is up to them to make decisions for themselves even as we provide guidance.
Even after almost 40 years, the internet is still fairly new to humanity and we are still learning how to use it to the best of our ability for the best possible results for humanity. I have faith that we will get it right eventually. I think we are still at the beginning stages of it, much like we were when the telephone first started getting used worldwide. Much like we are still learning how to use television responsibly and at the same time being good for entertainment. Even today phone usage is still evolving in many ways. I have faith though that humanity will get the technology right at some point in future history. In the meantime, we must strive to use it for our own individual needs with a balance to how we interact with the real world as best as we can while humanity is still learning and adapting to this new found tool.
*Tips his hat and walks out the door*.