I have a question. Is there anyone that can share personal experiences of the benefits they have received from limiting computer usage to school work / business, and cell phone to only making phone calls (no apps, games, social networking, etc.).
I feel like this would make me a more spiritual person. Also, when you think about it, computer/television/smart phones aren’t ABSOLUTE necessities to enjoy life.
I’m not saying cutting out this stuff is the only way to a deeper spirituality, but from a productivity/spirituality standpoint, it seems like a good thing to do.
As a member of the younger generation, I’m almost curious how you fill your time without one. It seems like every offline activity nowadays costs money and often a lot of time doing pointless things. I tried to get off the computer once and realized an hour or two in there was just nothing to do except stare at the walls.
Try it for 30 days and see if your life is different or your spiritual life is better as a result.
I know many people who have found it easier to stay focused on important things in life if they cut out “extras”, such as phone apps, or FaceBook. I think it very much depends on the person and how they use the various opportunities of cell phones and computer.
Internet has been a help to my spiritual life by giving me access to information and spiritual communities I would not have otherwise.
I live in a very isolated area, and have very few local resources for spiritual community.
I am not a big cell phone user and it’s a dumb phone, not a smart phone so I only use it when I am on vacation to make arrangements to meet up with people or in everyday life to call someone when I am going to be late or am lost and need directions. I don’t just chat and dislike texting. Plus I still have a landline phone, so the cell phone is really just meant for extra circumstances.
Now, the internet is more difficult to give up. I tried limiting it for Lent, but so much availability of information is geared toward the internet, it’s hard not to use it much. It probably would be better to spend more time in prayer.
I think a lot of it is the changes in ownership having grown up with a computer. I hardly own physical books anymore - most of my reading material exists in some sort of digital format. The research I do for my studies, or even for practical learning, are all online. Even my crafts, I learned rosary-making from the internet, and I cook with a browser tab or two in the background giving me the advice I need.
Moving around a lot for school, old relationships are held in place over the internet. The local town is an infrequent one-hour journey by bus, and the schedules force me to be headed home by 5 unless I want to pay for a taxi.
I just don’t get how it’s such a distraction for some people. Maybe if you had a family so you always have people there to interact with? All I know is that when the internet drops out my productivity drops to almost zero, because there’s little interesting or worthwhile to do really. No music, no ability to do any work, no one to even talk to, can’t even find the bus schedule because everything directs you online.
I’m only 26 myself :D. I hear you on everything being online. OP said limiting to school/work, so looking up a bus schedule could be under that. I don’t know that reading a digital book is what OP meant. I was thinking more along the lines of the FB and YouTube black hole. I transfer my music to an MP3 player, so that I can listen offline. When I do unplug, I actually find myself almost relieved.
I have lived without all kinds of things. I had I time I lived without a refrigerator, a time without a phone, a time without a computer, and I don’t own a TV. I’ve lived years without a car and don’t currently have one or need one. I don’t have heat or a/c. Though admittedly, I live in Mexico. I get by just with 2 fans.
I went through a period where I deliberately tried to imitate St. Francis.
When I didn’t have my computer, I ended up going to a cybercafé, anyway, because circumstances required it. At that time, I spent a fortune at the cybercafé and on international calls. In the end, it turned out not only to be much cheaper but easier for me to stay in contact with family and friends by my computer at the house. I think it’s also prudent to keep in contact, not lose touch with people. People are also part of our spirituality.
I live alone, and times my computer has even been in the shop, days have been extraordinarily long, because my computer helps me a lot in all kinds of ways. Now, I play chess on it, check my Facebook and e-mail. I know chess is a game, but I honestly think that some people underestimate the value of games, believing them to be valueless.
I go to a chess group, and in our group, we have a doctor, a lawyer, and I’m not sure who all else. The lawyer insists games like chess help him to better cope with the stress of his job. He says this game is like “therapy” for him. I have had a similar experience. Another said he found games, chess in particular, to be “relaxing”. I’ve played chess with people and also online, and both have been good for me, each in its own way.
Others who have told me chess is the mental equivalent of weight lifting and has helped them in their decision making processes in life. They insist when they’re playing, their decision making becomes easier. I found when I played chess when I was in school that even math seemed to get easier. I guess it depends what games. Don’t underestimate all games do for us. Potentially, they entertain, teach, relax us, and much more.
I once tried to work at a company where I, along with others, answered the phone for about 200 companies, and the ladies there played certain games all the time. At the time, I thought these word games were just tame and lame, and I dismissed them as being a waste of time. In retrospect, I think some of these games taught them certain skills, and ways of thinking, that helped them in their work.
I use my computer to listen to music, and my music helps me cope and lift me up when I’m down and out. I research and brainstorm by computer.
In my stage where I devoted myself to prayer almost exclusively, didn’t have my computer, TV, etc., When I got my computer, I just accessed religious sites. However, I believe my life was lacking. Well, we need to have a balance, and my life, at that time, wasn’t in balance. We need down time, to talk to others, play and have fun. We need to do more than eat, sleep, work, and pray.
Like it or not, we live in a computer age and need to also keep up with the times (not to mention all the changes) or be left behind. I’d just recommend against extreme positions. If games and such have gotten out of hand, I’d say to cut back without cutting everything out. :twocents:
Well, there are things to do. There are libraries, reading books. There are hobbies. I used to spend a lot of time making my own hand made rosaries. If one has family or friends, you can play cards or games.
You can learn something, take a class. One can go out for a walk, talk to someone, a neighbor or friend.
There is volunteering.
One could learn to sing or play a musical instrument. There are sports and all kinds of clubs and groups.
I apologize. I don’t know the OP’s situation. I just have had a lot of trouble recently with people who seem to push on how the internet is a “waste of time” without ever having realistic options to replace them, options that don’t presume a certain amount of money and resources already in hand. I don’t even really understand how they make you more productive - even with a car, wouldn’t having to run into town every time you want a new book or finding a class when you want to learn something new be a major productivity drain?
If you reread my post, you’ll see I never said internet, in and of itself, was a problem. I said if was to a point it’s a problem, to cut back, but it’s individual matter. I didn’t know if it was to that point or not. The OP didn’t say. That’s why I phrased it conditionally.
Internet may, or may not, be to the point of being a problem. If someone is on there all day, and it is interfering with their work and personal life, it’s to a point it’s a problem. If it’s not a problem, then it’s not a problem.
I just said to avoid extreme scenarios when possible.
Yeah I wasn’t responding to you specifically - I think you have pretty good advice here. My thought was just it’s often better to make a list of specific problems to stay away from.
The other thing I’d say is I’ve had better luck with intentional “do” lists than with “don’t” lists. So I would combine stepping away from the computer with a few activities you want to accomplish. If you have a family maybe that’s play a game with them. Or decide you’re going to spend 30min a day working out. Something to avoid replacing one time-waster with another.
I was not one of the people who said internet was necessarily a waste of time. In fact, I am on the internet as we speak, on a Catholic forum. I would only suggest to avoid extremes. If one has found the internet to be to a point of being problematic, which it actually can become, then it would be good to cut back.
As to my situation, I live in the city and can go to most places within walking distance. There is a chess club, for free, within walking distance. I have another place within probably longer walking distance that teaches chess, I believe also for free.
We have a library here within walking distance, and we can take out books for free.
I took a Braille class 3 blocks away, for free, and I could’ve taken a sign language class, but I have arthritis. That was also free, at a different place but also within walking distance.
I volunteer 3 blocks away from my house, and when I don’t volunteer there, I volunteer at my house. My students have come to me. I’m looking into volunteering at yet another place, also within walking distance.
As to volunteering, I can make this process very cheap or very expensive, my choice. I can have everyone come to me and spend basically nothing if I want.
I’ve taught literacy in Spanish or ESL. I’ve gone to people’s homes when I took the bus, and of late, some have, likewise, come to me.
It depends on one’s circumstances. Those may be your circumstances and restrictions, but they are not everyone’s.
Even within a lot of restrictions, sometimes there are other alternatives. I once carpooled to church with a women. We took turns.
With buses, I used to get a monthly pass. Again, it depends on where one lives and what’s available.
I don’t know what the OP has available, so I was running a few options by. He is free to take or leave them.