The Offline blog chronicles the experiences of everyday folks who voluntarily unplug. Guest bloggers shut off their cellphone and log off the internet for 24 hours, then write a 500-word essay about the experience. Click here for guidelines or to submit your essay.
By JENNA ARNTZ
I was nervous and a little uncomfortable about unplugging for 24 hours. I thought I would be missing out on what was happening in the Facebook world or my friends would think I was ignoring their texts. I have to admit that the only reason I participated in this challenge was to receive extra credit in my English 102 class; however, not using the internet, texting or doing anything involving technology from 9 a.m. April 6 to 9 a.m. April 7 turned into quite a learning experience.
I had a busy day that Saturday. In the morning I went to work, then I went on a hike at Bernheim forest and ended my day hanging out with my boyfriend watching movies. It was difficult to keep my phone off on a Saturday, but I did, except to make phone calls. All day I wanted to turn my phone on and check my text messages; it was stressful, and I don’t even know why. However, I did discover that when I stayed busy I didn’t worry about what was going on in cyberspace.
I rarely ever have face-to-face conversations, but the day I unplugged I found myself doing it more often. Instead of texting my family or my boyfriend to tell them something, I communicated with them in person. I now feel that having more face-to-face conversations would strengthen my relationships. Texting is impersonal, in my opinion, and I do not think that it is effective at all times. I would almost prefer to talk to people face-to-face, but sometimes it is difficult, and that’s where texting comes in handy.
On a daily basis I usually check my Facebook page at least eight times a day, and I am constantly on my phone browsing the web or texting. With that said, I admit that technology is crowding my life. Just having that overpowering urge to connect makes me realize how addictive it can be.
At the end of the 24 hours I was ready to plug back in. All I wanted to do was log onto Facebook and go through my text messages. I can see from this experiment that I need to change my online habits. I am going to try to only check my Facebook twice a day and text less.
I’m glad I participated in this experiment because I proved to myself that I could do it. If asked to go offline again, I think I would take on the challenge just to get another reality check about my addiction to the virtual world.
Jenna Arntz lives in Mount Washington, Kentucky, and is majoring in elementary education at Jefferson Community and Technical College.