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After Screen-Off Week

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It was a good week. A surprisingly good week for all of us. The closing of the screens came during a week of summer-warm weather, so we fully enjoyed every moment we could. The lack of notifications from this app, that app, or that other thing, was lovely.

Sister-Bug asked daily is it was “Screen On Week”, but didn't fuss much when we told her no. Brother-Bug didn't ask, didn't fuss, and didn't seen to care much. He read and played and did his work as he usually does. However, without the imaginary video games, he engaged more with me during the day, and it was easier to get him out the door, to the table, or onto a task. Apparently even imaginary video games drain his ability to be a participating member of our home.

Papa-Bug and I were both surprised at how little we missed out social outlets. We listened to NPR more than average to get news and weather. We read books. We talked about stuff, not pulling out phones to google answers or reference a tweet. We were both a little wistful when the week came to a close. It was so mentally restful. And the Internet didn't explode without us – it's still there, doing its thing. A few people might have noted our absence, but I'm not sure the Internet even missed us. How fickle.

Now, like it or not, we are back online because things need to be done and so many of them happen online. But we have a much better sense of what we use the Internet and our digital devices for – what we like, what we want to avoid, where the benefits are.

I noticed that the time I've spent with Twitter and Instagram have made me focus on little details in a very different way. As I keep an eye out for good Instagram shots, or a compelling 140 characters, I notice things I once might have missed. As a friend's Instagram hashtag often reads, #littlethingsmatter.

I came up with an analogy for screens and media use over the week. Popcorn.

Popcorn is wonderfully tasty. Good popcorn is fun to eat and you can even bump up the nutrition by adding good oil, nutritional yeast, herbs… Mix it up with some dried fruit and crisp cereal for extra fun. It's certainly not inherently bad. But if you ate popcorn everyday, for every snack and sometimes with meals… It would stop being so good for you. And you wouldn't enjoy it as much as you once did. This digital world is analogous for me.

We are both trying to be more conscious with our Internet habits now, aware of how little we miss them when they are gone…maybe we don't need to check the scrolling feeds every 7 minutes? It will be an ongoing project.

So I'm back online. I'm loving the return to my Instagram feed. As of this writing I have done barely more than check into my Facebook page. It's sunny out today and will be for the rest of the week. I'm reading a couple of good books. I've got some crackers to make… It might be a while before I get around to Facebook again.



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