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Your use of the internet positives/negatives


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I am noticing that I spend a lot more time on the internet these days. In some ways it's fantastic and in other ways, not so great. I definitely am noticing that I don't read as much in the evenings (Netflix) and I think I don't spend as much time on hobbies as I used to. I realize that lots of people have more self control than I do and that others feel like there is nothing inherently worse about computer than other pursuits. 


I am wondering how the internet has negatively or positively affected your life? Do you have to make rules or limits for yourself? When do you use the internet? Any other ideas you have that might help me clean up my own creeping usage. 



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Positive: All those lovely things I can do:

keep in contact with friends and family

work from home

collaborate with colleagues who are located elsewhere

instant access to information - news, scientific articles, facts, quotations, anything

support networks like this board - I would not have homeschooled through high school without it

shopping (I live in a small town with very limited retail options)

customized entertainment (I do not have a TV)

share my photography

share information about my hobby (DH and I run a website devoted to hiking in our part of the state)



nothing, really. Sometimes I spend a bit too much time on "unproductive" pursuits... but sometimes one needs to be unproductive. I do that especially when I am tired. But it does not take the place of sleep, exercise, or interaction with live people.


I don't waste nearly as much time as having the internet saves me!


I use the internet throughout the day. Currently I am at home producing videos for online lectures and I read board while taking a break or waiting for a file to process. I have to be reachable by email, so the computer is on anyway.


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One help for the time suck problem --


Realize that all the Netflixing and message board surfing and recipe finding and blog hopping (even for semi-serious content) probably falls under the category of entertainment.


People need entertainment. It's fine. The problem comes when you fool yourself into thinking you're doing important things, so you keep entertaining yourself for hours on end.


So just set a limit. How long are you willing to entertain yourself in this way? For example, try a maximum of 1.5 hours per day allocated to futzing around on the internet. I officially spend about half an hour in the middle of the day and an hour or so after the kids' bedtime.


This "futz around" time allotment has nothing to do with actual research, communication with real humans, and/or legitimate projects online...it is strictly about the frenetic surfing and reading that my life could honestly do without (if I wanted to go without it).

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It makes procrastinating so much easier, even rewarding.  It's addictive for me.


But, it's a lot less negative than TV as a source of news and entertainment.  I can opt out of things that are downers, and dig deeper into stuff I really want to know.


It allows me to be in "light touch" with people I don't otherwise contact often.  Like keeping extended family members informed of a few milestones I consider significant etc.


It allows me to keep track of things - my kids' school progress, schedules for the various community stuff we do, etc.


Online shopping is way better than in-store shopping.


It's a resource when I need to talk to someone and have nobody in real life to talk to.  Probably not the most ideal approach to problems, but probably better than nothing.


It makes the work week potentially 24/7.  Which means I have flexibility, but also guilt when I "could be working."


It relegates "I don't know" to pretty obscure status.


Right now it's about to get me in trouble about some work I'm supposed to be sending out, so I gotta go ....

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it helps with schooling

keeping in touch with family & friends

I've made friends world-wide

learned about new cultures and am sort of learning a new language

opened up new worlds of entertainment and music (I never watch American TV shows anymore)


I knit a lot while watching things on it

lots of creative ideas

easy to shop



I'm kind of out of touch with mainstream America

time suck

money spent on internet, virus protection and upkeep of electronics



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My favorite positive is the educational value - being able to look absolutely anything up at my fingertips.  This was useful for homeschooling, is useful for me now at school when I'm teaching fields outside my expertise - or even keeping up on fields I know, terrific for news coverage, useful for looking up info on products, info about medical issues, colleges, threads/polls on homeschooling forums, etc.


We also sell almost all of our ponies via the internet.


I sometimes keep in touch with family/friends via the net - though I still call too.  I'll admit I like calling better.


Negatives?  I read FAR less off the internet (newspapers, magazines, books).  I can get cranky when the internet is down (though don't mind not having it when I'm out of range - like hiking).



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It is definitely easy to pop on the web when I am low on energy (like now). I do feel I waste way too much time on this site. I spend less time on hobbies than I used to, and I have to enforce rules upon myself sometimes if there is a lot I need to accomplish.


Once in a while, I get carried away with some debate that is going on and I feel that I waste too much time and emotional energy on a debate with people I largely don't know and mostly will never meet IRL. I had my DD put my iPad away for a few days once because of this.


This truly is the most valuable place on the web IMO, though.


Sometimes I do make myself abide by some limits so I can take care of other things in my life. I have been known to write at the top of my paper to-do list, "NO WTM!!!"

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Thanks for all of your responses. 


I think I have been sitting down lately to get real work done at the computer and then finding myself far away from my intended use. It is good to remind myself that it is okay to use as entertainment and also to remember I am the kind of person who often needs to set myself concrete limits. Time to reel it in...





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Replying without reading the thread

Access to information easily

Access to a variety of perspectives I don't have around me in real life.

Being able to "socialise" without the overstimulation of real life environments or at a time and place that's convenient

Easier to coordinate events and activities

Easier to shop


Down sides

Time suck

Poor task focus. Everything is quick on the internet and I'm less likely to read a long book etc now. I'm not sure how much of this is busy stage of life factor though.


I feel like internet gives access to more but shallower. You can find out about anything quickly but you move on more quickly.

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I'm not sure how I'd fill my morning times without the internet.  I get up around 3:30am, but don't leave for school until 6:30 - 6:45am.  I shower, etc, take care of cat needs, and fix breakfast, but I can't exactly clean house or do other noisier things without waking hubby up (or other family members when they're here).  This time of year it's dark outside.  (In my youth my dad installed lights outside our house so I could train my horse before school, but we're not doing that.)


I guess I could read... but I like the greater variety of things I can read online - news, weather, the Hive, College Confidential, e-mail, whatever else is of interest, and occasionally a game of Spider Solitaire or Free Cell (not online, but on the computer).  It helps time pass quickly and makes me feel fairly informed starting my day.

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