The internet is not the problem, you are the problem

I find doom and gloom pieces about how social media kills community and learning and small puppies annoying. There are new risks that the internet brings. But it’s silly and simplistic to invest the internet with these unique and disastrous powers.

Paul Miller spent a year offline. And this was his discovery:

As it turned out, a dozen letters a week could prove to be as overwhelming as a hundred emails a day. And that was the way it went in most aspects of my life. A good book took motivation to read, whether I had the internet as an alternative or not. Leaving the house to hang out with people took just as much courage as it ever did.

By late 2012, I’d learned how to make a new style of wrong choices off the internet. I abandoned my positive offline habits, and discovered new offline vices. Instead of taking boredom and lack of stimulation and turning them into learning and creativity, I turned toward passive consumption and social retreat.

A year in, I don’t ride my bike so much. My frisbee gathers dust. Most weeks I don’t go out with people even once. My favorite place is the couch. I prop my feet up on the coffee table, play a video game, and listen to an audiobook. I pick a mindless game, like Borderlands 2 or Skate 3, and absently thumb the sticks through the game-world while my mind rests on the audiobook, or maybe just on nothing.

Tim Challies reflects:

It has long fascinated me that our technologies don’t do anything to us that we don’t want. We can say we hate the Internet or email or cell phones, but if we hated them as much as we insist, we’d do something about them. We may hate them, but we love them just a little bit more.

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