Let me first start by saying that the online world can be a fantastic experience. We are fortunate to live in a time where we can connect with anyone from any part of the world. It gives us a chance to be in contact with family we don’t get to see regularly. We can even follow our favorite celebrity. I mean how great is that?
Positives & Negatives
The online world has given me so many opportunities such as being able to help myself with my own anxiety through websites such as turn2me.ie and doing online courses during lockdown. I mean if it wasn’t for the internet, I would not be able to write articles such as this and try to help at least one person through my own experiences however with all those great positives comes some major negatives for some people in their lives.
We live in a world where everything and everyone is online. But is that true? Let me come back to that…..
We are online so much that some people have developed what is known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I was like this too until it got to the stage where I just had to stop. It was changing me as a person. I felt if I didn’t check Facebook very regularly, I was missing out. The reality is, is that I was missing out. I spent so much time in front of the computer that I was missing out on family time. My family saw a different side to me that I wasn’t noticing myself. I eventually noticed it myself too and that is when I decided to act.
Take back control of your time
I remember a time when I was in my late teens or early twenties, I decided to spend a week or two away from Facebook and during that time I noticed all the beautiful things I was missing out on. I started gardening more with my dad, I interacted more with my family, and I began to live again. After that time, I did go back on Facebook, and I noticed myself going down the same route of addiction again. I eventually decided to delete my Facebook account and I feel that was the best thing I did. I am on other Social Networks though as I believe they do bring benefits when I use them right.
The lost art of conversation
What really got me to take notice of how much being online has taken over is when nearly anytime I go to the doctors nearly everyone is on their phone. We have lost the art of conversation where we can’t talk to the person sitting next to us even for a minute or a quick hello. I, even though I am a young person and grew up with technology would rarely use the phone in that setting. I am a reserved person; I do find it hard to start conversations, but I am also a country person that waves at nearly everyone or smiles at them. Personal contact is, I feel, so important for us to get back into doing.
Do you “need” Instagram?
“I need Instagram for all the lovely pictures posted every second”, Really? Pictures are lovely. I love online pictures myself. The reality is though, the outside world we live in is a beautiful place waiting for us to come, visit and admire. We don’t need Instagram to show us beauty. We have it all around us in nature, in our family and in ourselves, and yes you and I are beautiful. Maybe if you like pictures you could get a camera and take your own pictures and hang them on a wall instead of on Instagram.
The internet can bring a lot of anxiety for people especially if they are experiencing cyberbullying from what are known as the “keyboard warriors.” This can cause a lot of emotional damage to the person on the receiving end and many times the “keyboard warrior” can not be identified. This can also lead to people not saying how they really feel for fear of ridicule or backlash.
We live in a world where everything and everyone is online?
I am going to go back to the statement I put in the second paragraph for a minute and try and answer the question I put next to it. We live in a world where everything and everyone is online. But is that true? There are a lot of beautiful and very beneficial things online and it has a place in society but a lot of the things we can do online we can also do when we are not online. If you have FOMO and you need to know what is going on you can get a newspaper, some supermarkets like my local Tesco have a free newspaper with local advertisements. You can also get news by talking to your friends, family, and neighbors over the phone or in person or you can listen to the radio, most channels have regular news bulletins. We don’t need to be online all the time.
There are many things that can give us the same pleasure as being online such as the ones I mentioned above. You see I still spend too much time myself online and in recent days and weeks I am trying to curb it.
Tips to stay offline and more present
I will now also give you more tips from my own personal experience that helps me.
Turn off notifications to social networks.
Limit screens at bedtime
If you are online for work or school take regular breaks
Exercise, see the real Instagram
Take up or revisit a hobby. I like reading and knitting. Recently I revisited writing down my favorite song lyrics in a notebook
Go out for a coffee to a café but don’t use your phone to go online, speak to the people around you.
Go to the gym. There are some outdoor gyms you can use for free. I know, Irish weather, but just try it anyway. This is something I am starting next week myself
Contact a friend by phone or in person
Learn something new by taking classes that are not online or teaching yourself
Talk to your neighbors
Have a look at this short documentary series on the RTE player called The Disconnect. There are three episodes each about 10 minutes long where young people talk about growing up in this digital age and the relationship we have with screens. It can be found on
They are just some tips to help both you and me to spend less time online more time in the real world around us.
If anyone feels they would benefit by additional support or requires additional assistance to live a more present life, help can be found at Turn2Me.ie. Register now a lifeline online!