24 hours without the internet

The internet is one of the biggest things in the world! Don’t you think? It never stops growing! But, what would happen if you couldn’t go online for 24 hours? Well, that’s exactly what I did.

Everyday people mindlessly browse the internet.  Nine in ten adults now go online all over the world and adults now spend over 20 hours online per week, Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes 2015 report states. Many people spend hours of their lives documenting where they are going, what they are doing and who they are with all over the internet, especially social media. Just opening my newsfeed, a friend of mine on Facebook may be on holiday and I’ll basically see day by day statuses posted up on their wall, just like a diary entry. Or if someone is in a restaurant they will “check in” or take a photo of their meal showing me how delicious it is. The internet seems to have become a world where nothing is private anymore.

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Graph from: Ofcom. (May 2015) Adults’ media use and attitudes. Available at:http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/media-literacy/media-lit-10years/2015_Adults_media_use_and_attitudes_report.pdf.

When I began my internet free day, I woke up and got straight out of bed. Usually, I’d have grabbed my phone to check what notifications I had received while asleep. I’d spend at least half an hour in bed just to read Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my emails. And guess what? Because I couldn’t, I actually had time for breakfast! I wouldn’t have time to eat on a morning because I’d be in a rush out the door. So having no internet actually helped me to sit and enjoy my Coco Pops.

Now, boredom is where I struggled. If I was sat around for 10 minutes, I would usually grab my phone, press the Facebook or Instagram app and open it up because I always feel the need to be occupied. I always found it handy because in the palm of my hand would be all my friends’ information and updates. Snapchat would show me what they were doing at that moment in time and what they had been doing during the day from their Snapchat stories. Facebook would say when they were last online, share what’s on their mind, show photos of an occasion or even express how someone was feeling at a certain time. It’s crazy to even think how much information the internet could have on an individual just from social media sites and how many people use them. According to Ofcom’s research 81 percent of people who have social media sites go online at least once a day.

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Graph from: Ofcom. (May 2015) Adults’ media use and attitudes. Available at:http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/media-literacy/media-lit-10years/2015_Adults_media_use_and_attitudes_report.pdf.

Just think right now how many times you’ve been on social media today. Well, I haven’t cracked, yet! By 12pm I wanted to pick up my phone just to look at it, just to have it open but I used my willpower to stop myself. Scrolling through Facebook while waiting for my dinner is a bad habit of mine, and by the looks of everyone around me, it’s a general bad habit for a lot of people.

Instead, I spent the spare five minutes relaxing with a bit of peace and quiet instead of reading of the drama happening online. Because let’s face it, everyone has that one person on their Facebook that complains about absolutely everything. I also didn’t have to read statuses that were telling me someone had just eaten at Pizza Express for their lunch. But my personal favourite will always be the one person who ALWAYS writes depressing statuses of how rubbish their life is… Yes, I’d never miss their statuses if I had no internet in my life!

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Being deprived of social media was the hardest reality; I’ve grown up around it, it’s my way of life. Having no social media was like taking peanut butter from the jelly. After all, young adults (18–29 year olds) are most likely to use social media. Andrew Perrin of the Pew Research Centre stated, 90 percent of young adults use social media in some form, whether that is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. It’s the way I keep up with the news and my friends’ lives.

I had to think of alternative ways to keep up with the day and fill in my spare time. The first thing I learnt was I spoke more to the people who were around me unlike when me and my friends were relaxing before, there would be a spare five minutes where I’d look around and everyone would be checking their phones.

Email was another issue. I couldn’t read my email’s during the day so I knew as soon as I started this experiment that at the end of the day I would have a bunch of emails waiting to be read. Most would be junk, offers on jewellery, or clothes, but if I had an email of the university that I missed, there would be consequences since my tutor always emails about meetings and lessons.

Out of this whole experience, though, I’ve realised that connecting with friends is one of the main reasons I do use the internet, and that’s one thing I wouldn’t change. Because of the distance, while I’m at university, I would have no other way to keep up with their lives if it wasn’t for Instagram and Facebook. They keep me in the loop when I’m not actually there in person. If a friend needed me I could be there for them even when I’m not physically there. The only positive I got out of this experience was I was more aware and connected to reality than usual, I noticed things going on around me that I normally wouldn’t — Let’s face it, I did a lot of people watching.

Ends (949 words)

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