Friday, June 28, 2013

Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?

Do I spend too much time online?  This is a question I've been asking myself lately.  For missionaries (especially us women) this is our escape to all our friends and family back in America.  It allows us to not miss our nephew's first birthday, or a friend's wedding, or what so-and-so had for lunch (because, really we all gots-ta-know!)  Loneliness, homesickness, fear, these are all things that can drive us to escape in the internet world.  But how much is too much?
I am currently reading an e-book call The UnWired Mom by Sarah Mae.  It is very thought provoking and convicting.  I've really been watching myself the past few days to see how much time I really spend online, and let's just say, I'd be embarrassed to tell you!
With all media outlets: blogs, twitter, pinterest, facebook, instagram, google+, etc., there is so much time that can be wasted online.  Just minutes can easily turn into hours.  I often wonder what my children will remember about their childhood, and about me.  Will they remember our game times, mommy reading books to them?  Or will they just remember mommy always on her computer?
One of my New Year's Goals this year was to say 'yes' to my children more often and be more intentional in my children's lives.  My kids are growing up so fast, it's almost frightening.  God has given me this huge responsibility to raise my children for Him.  How can I possibly do that while I check my facebook notifications every half hour?
Please understand I'm not saying the internet is evil (although I do believe a large portion of it is), I am saying though that all things be done in moderation.  Balance.
I just love that word.  It can be applied to so many areas of our life.  Right now I am applying it to the internet world. 
Sarah Mae asks in her book, "Is how you are living your days how you would live them if they were your last?"  Ouch!  I wrote out that quote and put it on my bulletin board just above my desk...which holds my laptop.  It has helped motivate me to get some things done that I've been putting off.
Here are some of my suggestions on limiting your time online...
  • Pray.  Ask God to help you balance your time. 
  • Keep your computer turned off.  Our mornings are consumed with homeschooling, if I turn on my computer, then my kids only get half my attention.  My goal is to keep my computer turned off until after lunch.  My kids are past the napping stage, but we still have room time.  After lunch we all go our rooms for an hour (or longer if they don't notice...shhhh!).  This is the time I allow to check my email and facebook messages.
  • Use apps.  The book lists several apps and programs (for Google chrome) that limits your time on social networking sites.  I have not tried any of these yet, I'm too scared!
  • Take a media fast.  This is something I plan to do, but I really want to plan it out, and not go cold turkey.  I'm thinking I may just take one day a week where I don't go all.
What are some ways you moderate your time online? 
Is this a struggle for you?
If you're interested in the book, The UnWired Mom by Sarah Mae, I'd encourage you to check out her website and purchase her ebook.   (This is my personal recommendation, I am not being reimbursed in any way.)


  1. Hey! I just downloaded that ebook, too, while it was free. I've read most of it already. Maybe we should go through the challenges together? A little later, though. Right now I have camp ahead of me, and that's already a welcome internet fast for me.

    I guess that you could say that's one way we moderate our internet time: when we're away from home, we're offline.

    1. That's a great idea. Maybe after summer is over?

    2. I like this idea! But yes, after summer is over...

  2. I just downloaded that book, too, and am looking forward to reading it. I am like you, Phyllis, I rarely get online when I am away from home. It is the days that I am home all day without any visitors that I can be tempted to spend too much time on it. I read a quote the other day that said, "how you spend your days is how you spend your life." Very convicting for the days that I devote too much of my time to the Internet!

  3. I am most tempted to go online when I miss my family. Like you said, I use it as an escape. Ways that I cut down are to not turn the computer on until after supper or I will nap while the kids nap instead of using it as computer time.

  4. Hi Jen. What a great, thought-provoking post. I've also thought about how easy it is to spend more time than we think on-line. After reading your post, I think I'm going to log my computer use for a few days. This is a great topic for summer when we have more time that we could easily WASTE!

    One solution I sometimes use for facebook is to schedule when I check it. I also try to stay on it for only about 5 or 10 minutes (this is more effective of course if I'm only checking it twice a day!) Not so great if I'm checking it 4 or 5 times!

    I also try to turn the computer OFF at 9:30 pm, and I find I have a lot more opportunity to READ before bed.