A month ago, I announced that I would quit the Internet, allowing for the following exceptions to keep up with the IB programme:
- I will not use the Internet for 30 days, unless any of the following circumstances apply.
- Research for homework is limited to 30 minutes per assignment, and prior to my use of the computer, the necessity of research must be evaluated.
- I may log on to Pamoja for my online course only to complete the given assignments, and may not browse the Internet for information unless rule 2 applies.
- I may update my Managebac once a week for a maximum of 30 minutes (no browsing allowed)
- I may log into my website only to publish posts, bearing in mind the time limit of 20 minutes.
- I am free to use Heliohost and related tools for computer science class, and only for computer science class.
- All internet use must be logged in a diary and reviewed at the end of each week.
Lesson #1: Rules can be broken with good or bad reason
I broke almost all the rules I set for myself, some as they weren’t suited to my needs (only 30 minutes of research per assignment does not work well for a 1100 word essay), and others because I had already broken some rules, so I thought it wouldn’t make a difference if I broke any more. What kind of reasoning is that?
Lesson #2: Time sink
Not watching the latest episode of the X-Factor or reading Ramit Sethi’s blog left me with a wealth of free time in the evenings. Instead I curled up on the couch and indulged in the Cherub books which had arrived only two days before. Though after a few nights I was short on my reading supplies, and I noticed that the Internet has long been a way to avoid boredom.
Lesson #3: Accountability is hard
I tried to remain accountable by logging all my internet use, but after a week I felt so guilty for using the net for fun that I stopped writing down how I spent my time, with a disastrous consequence: for the next two weeks I returned to my usual habit of accessing the Internet whenever I felt like it. Finally, I decided that it could not go on this way and installed Leechblock (a free Firefox addon that blocks websites for a certain amount of time). This has prevented me from using sites I did not need, but I still need to optimise the settings so I can still finish my school work.
In conclusion, I think that going offline is not the best solution to developing a responsible attitude towards Internet use, as it feels like I was going from one extreme to another (which has not been helpful, as I constantly tried to break free of my constraints). But how can we learn to be mature in our Internet habits without doing a complete digital detox? Tell me about your ideas and how you avoid wasting time online!