A month ago, I announced that I would quit the Internet, allowing for the following exceptions to  keep up with the IB programme:

  1. I will not use the Internet for 30 days, unless any of the following circumstances apply.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. I may update my Managebac once a week for a maximum of 30 minutes (no browsing allowed)
  5. I may log into my website only to publish posts, bearing in mind the time limit of 20 minutes.
  6. I am free to use Heliohost and related tools for computer science class, and only for computer science class.
  7. 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!