I think I hate the internet. For the past several months I’ve been doing these Healthy Living Challenges with a great group of women I met through an internet moms group. This week, one component of our challenge is a “Digital Detox.” I was thrilled to read this because lately I’ve just been waiting for this challenge to end so I can get the heck offline for a while.Here are some things I do on the internet (which I access through my laptop, smart phone, or Kindle Fire):
- I post cell-phone photos on Instagram and/or Facebook. Then I check back repeatedly to admire my framing of said photo, choice of filter, and to see who all has “liked it.”
- I skim my Facebook news feed and occasionally click a link to read a posted article, although I never click on videos because I freaking hate videos.
- I respond to requests for information that pop up in my Facebook news feed because I like to feel smart and needed. Want to know what my favorite cloth diaper is? Here’s a five-paragraph essay!
- I shop for stuff I don’t need and won’t buy.
None of this behavior is useful or necessary, but I think it’s actually a larger problem than it seems. Because my news feed is comprised mostly of news from “pages” I’ve “liked,” and people I’ve befriended, all I ever see is “news” that corresponds to my interests and confirms my biases. This is a recipe for narrow-mindedness, at best. Furthermore, most of the “articles” I see links to are blog entries, and I am really sick of reading other people’s heartfelt musings on the mommy wars or why people on “the other side” of the political spectrum are all a bunch of dangerous morons.
I know what I need to know about childbirth, mothering, breastfeeding, babywearing, what real food is, and how to cook it. If there is something further I want to know (or if, by some wild stretch of the imagination, I want information on a topic not previously listed), I will look for information by reading a book, talking to a person, or doing a Google search. I do not need to read 634599 interpretations on the above topics every day. I will absolutely advocate for you if you need it (like if someone is trying to curb your legal right to feed your child in whatever manner you choose wherever you are legally allowed to be), but dear god, babywearers are not a persecuted subset of the population by any stretch of the imagination. If wrapping a child on your back in a $950 carrier is one way you flaunt your individuality and first-world disposable income, cool. That does not give you any right to compare yourself to, say, the current plight of Muslims in Burma.
I had a couple of editing jobs this week. One of my favorite things about my side gig as an editor is how much I learn from what people write. It was not only satisfying to my intellect to learn some new things about theories of literacy and market research, it bolstered my self-esteem by reminding me that I used to be a person who knew stuff like theory and could intelligently discuss it – in more than one language. 97% of the time, what comes out of my mouth makes me sound like a cross between a “crunchy mom” and a slow-witted teenager. I think my generation likes to talk like we did when we were slacker teenagers in a desperate attempt to hang on to our youthful cool – which we may never have had in the first place. It’s ridiculous.
I managed to make time for an episode of the Daily Show the other day and I realized I have NO IDEA what is currently happening in Egypt. This is totally shameful. Then, last night, we watched “Game Change,” and I realized, I couldn’t explain why North and South Korea are different, either. (I mean, I know the main differences between them, but I couldn’t tell you how they got that way except that I had a vague idea it was related to the political fallout after WWII.) This has got to stop. I refuse to participate in the dumbing-down of America’s stay-at-home mothers anymore. I’m totally happy to be devoting a ton of time and energy to child rearing and cooking and cleaning, but I’m not sure I need to discuss it all the fucking time. I want to read things that make me better, whether that is something I do by reading any of the 300 untouched back issues of the New Yorker I have lying around here or by reading a novel and reveling in the beauty of an author’s way with words. I want to teach Elias to be a global thinker, to be compassionate, and to seek out beauty for beauty’s sake, and my Facebook news feed doesn’t really fit into that picture. I’m exhausted by the constant flow of useless information. I guess I don’t really hate the internet; I hate Facebook. So, I’m out. Send me a text or an email or something.