I’m a woman with connections now. It’s been nearly two weeks with no phone or Internet. I was becoming used to the ‘old ways’ of being isolated in the Wilds and not having to respond to anyone. Add the snow into the equation and only an intermittent mobile signal and life began to feel quite pleasantly retro!
Don’t get me wrong – I do like having all your lovely messages to respond to – it’s totally heart-warming. Social media is like a comfort blanket when you’re feeling a bit down and like no one gives a damn – props you up when you’ve just had sharp words from a loved one or the kids.
But there have been advantages being disconnected. It’s made me realise something often forgotten; you need to be aware of what’s happening in your life. If you’re not aware of it you can’t manage it. If you’re not managing it then it’s managing you. And if that’s the case then it’s easy to feel a victim of life rather than in charge of it. (A bit like schooling really!)
I’ve read on more than one blog how people sometimes feel controlled by Social Media not the other way round. It has certainly controlled quite a good deal of my time without me being aware of it. Without it I’ve achieved a lot more. I’ve been much more creative. We’ve had more conversation. I’ve felt more fulfilled somehow, using the offline time productively engaged in other things. Enough to make sure that I manage it better now we’re back on.
It’s also made me realise that parents have to mange it effectively for their kids’ sake. There has to be a proper BALANCE between using the Net and other activities. From what I hear in some households it’s out of balance. Both parents and children are so engaged with people on-line they forget to engage with the loved ones that are actually in the room. They’re so virtual they forget a physical world exists and to go out in it.
There’s more than one way to feel disconnected. An irreplaceable resource it may be, but the Net can have a negative effect on important relationships if it’s out of balance with the other ways you connect; real ways. Conversational ways. Eye-contact ways. Touching and holding.
Will we lose the skills to connect in those ways, do you think, as we addictively suck at our online comforter where people are removed enough for us to avoid the emotional difficulties of more immediate contact?
Balancing online time and real interaction time is important. Balancing online activities with others. How you manage it will teach your children how to manage it, teach them what’s appropriate. Teach them that there are other important things in life to be engaged in than being popular on Facebook and how often you Blog or Tweet.
A real live conversation for one. And playing in the snow!