Would we be happier without the internet?
I’ve often said I found “my people” online. I found a community of introverts who love conversing at a distance. I’ve learned more than I probably ever would have without the easy access of Google. I’ve made dear friends online, many of whom crossed over into being “real life” friends, although even the ones I haven’t met in person mean a lot to me. For more than a decade, I’ve spent spare time online chatting, learning, earning an income… but at what cost?
With the internet comes what I call “full frontal” access to absolutely everything. I’m acutely aware of the suffering of people in all countries, of atrocities that take place minute-by-minute. We hear of child abductions, murders, wars, diseases and more daily. It’s a pretty bleak world out there sometimes and it’s not like the internet is making it any sunnier.
We see snippets of peoples’ lives that make some people feel ashamed, or like failures because they don’t seem to have the same things in their lives. We’re constantly reminded to never judge our whole life by someone else’s highlight reel because really, the whole internet is one giant highlight reel, isn’t it? And even when it’s not positive things, it’s misery blown wide open, too. It’s oversharing to the extreme.
They eat better food (their kids sure eat better than ours!), they have a tidier (and bigger!) house, they go on cooler (and more!) vacations… it’s relentless. They’re craftier. They spend more quality time with their spouse. Their kids are smarter, better behaved, better everything. They’re happier, they’re more successful, life’s better on the other side.
The car seat you chose isn’t the “best” one.
You’re letting your kid have too much screen time.
Your kids aren’t in enough sports or activities.
The things you value aren’t the right things.
You’re wearing the wrong clothes.
You don’t have enough, you won’t be enough.
There’s just so much more information being thrown at us from every direction that it’s really hard to stand tall and be confident in our own choices sometimes. For every opinion we express, there are countless people ready to tell us why we’re wrong, and why their opinions are facts.
I hear people talk about how Pinterest makes them feel like failures (instead of feeling inspired by it), and hear them talk about the Instagram feeds of some people making them feel guilty about the way they eat. There are countless blog posts begging for us to read about how we should shut down, turn off, and just get outside! (BUT READ THEIR BLOG FIRST!) Everyone has an opinion, everyone else is right, you should totally listen to them. The trolls leaving cruel comments, the ignorance on full display, the insults, immaturity…
Sometimes I wonder if we would really just be a happier bunch overall without access to the internet. What do you think?