This one might be a little messy - no editing just writing.

I hate the internet.

There I said it.

I really truly do. 

To the question, "If you could go back in time and change one thing what would it be?" I would un-make the internet. I don't know how exactly one would accomplish such a task but that is not the point. The point is I wish the internet didn't exist.

But it does and I exist in a first world country in which everything I do has to take place on a digital screen. So I attempt to embrace it - to accept it - to make it a lovely part of my little life. But it is like eating cabbage, I try but I can't help but scrunch up my face in disgust as I do.

Case in point #1:

Blake emailed me a link to this article, It's digital heroin: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. Besides the over the top headline, I enjoyed the article and agree with a lot of what the author was trying to say. As I mentioned this to Blake later that evening, he said that he posted it to Facebook and his brother wrote a scathing response in return. I couldn't resist reading it so I got on his Facebook to see what Hank had to say. Since I was already in the land of endless scrolling, I decided to scroll. Not 5 posts down, there it was. A man wrapping his arms around some naked ladies booty and kissing it. I immediately hit the X in the corner and slammed the laptop shut with the declaration, "I hate the internet!"

Now disclaimer, my husband is the squeakiest of the squeaky clean. If this kind of garbage is showing up on his FB homepage than I guarantee that it is randomly (or not so randomly) popping up on everyone else's.

The internet has gone to the dogs... I don't know the trendy terms for all that is going on but in my limited exposure this is what I am seeing. 10 foods you should never eat. This man showed up unannounced at his fiancees' house and this is what he saw. You won't believe what so-and-so wore to such-and-such event. How did this become what we are spending the vast majority of our time reading? It is nonsense... It is garbage... It is the most awful form of writing I have ever witnessed and we are gobbling it up, vomiting it out, and then going back for seconds. It is an endless tabloid magazine that we have all subscribed to.

Foolish. Bane. Filthy. Mind-numbing. 

The other day someone was remarking to me that I should give Facebook another chance, people aren't so "status-update-happy" and it is more article based. No more of the "I ate fajitas for dinner" that filled the Facebook of five years ago. But no I would rather hear a million people's dinner choices then scroll through the endless stream of "articles" that have overrun our internet.

Case in point #2:

As you well know I love the Olympics. I fell in love with the Final Five with the rest of the country so when a video popped up in my email to watch them play Hungry, Hungry Humans on Jimmy Fallon, I couldn't resist and I clicked. It was cute and funny but not 2 seconds later the video cut to a different story. Usain Bolt living it up at a club and there on my screen is the fastest man in the world getting a lap-dance from some Brazilian stranger. What the crap? That was not the video I had wanted. But it is now the only one that I can remember.

The internet is not a safe place. I feel like I have to be constantly vigilant when I am on it. I think what little good comes from it, came better from books, newspapers, and conversations with those around you. I could go back - it could all go away and I would be OK. We would all be OK, in fact, I think we would all be better.

I hate that my kids are growing up in a world where it is perfectly normal for every human we pass to walk (or worse drive) by with the head down looking at a screen. I never had that as a child and I am grateful. Parents, teachers, even random strangers at the store were all fully present because there was no where else to be." 

I hate that touchscreen devices have only been a part of my life for the past 5 years and I can already feel all the addictive qualities about it. How do my children stand a chance to not have a full-blown addiction when phones have been presented to them from Day 1 on this planet? And we have zero idea about the long-term consequences of this. As Blake said the other day, "We are living a social experiment."

I hate that I even have to think about the whens and hows we will introduce this technology into our home. Parenting is hard - parenting in a "What's your wi-fi password?" generation is even harder.

Case in point #3:

A mom I admire was telling me about she was keeping her daughter off social media until she was 16. The daughter's "friends" thought this outlandish and old-fashioned so they set up an account for her. They named it "Brittney the B*&%$." and posted all sorts of horrible things to it. This girl has already been humiliated by social media and she has yet to even make her own account.

I don't get how it is going to get any better. Everything we click, scroll, and load will have to become more stimulating and more sensationalized for us to even respond and I see nothing good coming from that.

Case in point #4: 

Whenever tragedy strikes our country, curiosity overcomes me and I want to know some details. I try to find the most "stick to the facts" source but it always amazes me that while I am reading about a horrific mass shooting, banners in the sidebar are simulating flat abs; read more article links are everywhere and completely unrelated/not sensitive to the other material I have just read; and a pop-up is trying to tell me who Kristen Stewart is dating.

This isn't news. This is an exercise in controlling your ADD. Nothing is serious or sacred - it is all worth mashing together just to see who can get the most clicks. It is not how we were made to digest information and I find it disparaging. We are smarter than this. We can do better than this.

I don't know how to live with this internet that we have created and I am not naive enough to think that I can now live without it. 

It is cabbage. And I don't like it.


Jo said...

I agree. We have to learn how we are going to live with it because the world won't be without it.

Jo said...

No Neutral Ground: How Media Influences Us
By Aysia Tan in September 2016 Ensign. Excellent article.

connie said...

Again an article so well stated it needs to be published. You are so right on Cyndi.

Hank Taylor said...

I hope you know my reply was meant to "scathe" the author for their strawman arguments and, what was in my opinion, generally poor journalism on the issue. Some great counter points to my comment were made and I think learned some things. Plus you know we brothers like to debate :)

The internet you and I experience are incredibly different it seems, but only because I've literally spent dozens of hours over years to intentionally train the algorithms on sites for what I want and don't want to see. The biggest stride toward an internet I enjoy was installing an ad blocker. But that's just the problem you rightfully hate: it takes serious effort to have a fulfilling experience on the internet.

Chadwick and Julie said...

Nothing drives me more crazy than to see a child under the age of 5 sitting in a stroller, eyeballs glued to an iPad or phone. It's a 15 minute trip to the grocery store and some errands around town - the car TV is not necessary!! It does take a lot of effort to filter through the crap though the internet certainly has benefit. I like your term "what's your wi-fi password" generation. Well written, Cyndi!