This afternoon, while my little boy was napping, I was on this blasted computer attempting to look up a nun's performance on Italy's version of The Voice.
That sounds rather harmless, and so it is, I suppose, but after watching a couple videos and reading a couple articles, I was feeling sucked into the world of perpetual noise.
I might not have felt noise-sick if every site I clicked on did not have a million other extremely frivolous stories lined up on their sidebar to entice you into the rabbit hole. The nun's story I like, but the pictures trying to convince me to read about celebrities' latest meltdowns, most recent significant others or clothing choices, I could easily do without.
Oh, the noise, noise, noise, noise! I am a regular technology Grinch. You could find me someday, a disconnected hobo, sitting in a city park with a sign that reads, "Technology overload bad - revive Mother Nature". I wish my home page on the Internet could be a sweet, simple blank screen with a blinking search bar.
But my homepage is like any other. It is jam-packed with pictures of famous, often foolish, people, has bite-sized articles on how to look better, feel better, manage finances, improve your outlook, tell if your spouse is happy, buy shoes online, and polls asking you how you feel about the latest stupid thing someone has said or done. The real news (does that exist anymore?) is rare, and it is nearly always depressing. But I would take the "real news" about real-life human issues over the fluff designed to distract us any day.
This weekend I read a USA Today newspaper article about Millennial moms, in which group I am technically included, and it detailed how these moms are changing the face of motherhood through technology. They are using Pinterest to look up scientific experiments, fun party recipes, cool craft ideas. They use apps on their smartphones to manage their baby's sleep schedule, breastfeeding schedule (huh?) and track doctor's appointments. Bloggers, they share their experiences, their joys and advice with other moms in the online community. They are plugged in, radiating all that fabulous information out for the edification of children and the art of motherhood. And they post numerous pictures on social media sites for distant family to enjoy.
I began to feel guilty as I read that old-fashioned newspaper. I rail against technology, how it is making us dumber socially, emotionally, and yes, I feel, intellectually. I rail against all the parents I see with their heads down over a phone, completely ignoring what their kids are doing - often because they've given their kids an I Pad to entertain them. Yet, how many times have I used this amazing available "social" technology to find a great meal for my family? Not often. How many pictures of my absolutely gorgeous children do I share on Facebook? Not many. How many fantastic crafts have I pulled from Pinterest to do with my children? None. I admit, I just don't have an affinity for it, and I am baffled by those who find their joy in it, but perhaps the main problem is that I simply do not know how to make the most of this brave new world in media.
So, yes, indeed - I am a mom who can be found with her nose in a week-old newspaper instead of her phone, but if I am still shrugging off my pestering children, so I can "just finish this article", the difference is the same. Yes, I still rely on a shelf of real-life cookbooks, but if I'm just making the same thing over and over, perhaps I should skip the nonsense on my home page to look for an online recipe to bring a bit more excitement to mealtimes. As for games and crafts, you are quite likely to find me playing classics such as Red Light/Green Light, and once upon a time before this house began to drive me bonkers with its mess, I could be found fairly often cutting and gluing construction paper projects with my kids. But I wonder....what are these new-fangled crafts people are raving about on their Facebook pages, glow-in-the-dark treasure hunts or fun birthday surprises, accompanied by gloating pictures? Maybe, yes maybe, I should try one of those.
Still...woman, know thyself. I know that the more time I spend on the Internet, the more out of sorts I become - even if I am simply reading articles or posts by writers I admire. I'm not certain why this is, but I assuredly know that I cannot just meander around aimlessly, even if it is a simple mental stroll through friends' Facebook posts. I know my life could not be run by apps.
I am happiest when I only log in just a few times a week into my email. I don't go on Facebook unless I want to post or need to communicate with someone, but once there, it is a fight to return to reality, I confess. And perhaps the best decision for me personally was never to come on this blog merely to check stats. It is very discouraging and will squash any inspiration that is freshly percolating, and it is, regardless, a complete waste of my time. Yet, it always feels good to write, to have written here, and that doesn't induce Internet-sickness at all.
Where is my point, you ask? Well, I admire these courageous women who understand how to use the technology given them to be better moms. I admire them because it appears they do not waste time hardly at all or use it as an excuse to avoid their overactive kids but instead garner wonderful ideas for their little ones' development and happiness. Now that is surely not evil. Technology is not all bad.
Do not expect me to start posting pics of our latest family craft on Facebook (or any pics on Facebook - lost our camera again), however, but I do think I may be inspired to look up more recipes and crafts and try more of the good, clean ideas people put out there to share with the whole human community. After all, if Pope Francis can make good use of the Internet, my friends, so can I.
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