Wired.

Or not.

We decided a week ago to cut off the internet in our house.

That’s right. Despite the fact that I run an online ministry from home, we cut off the internet.

Photo Credit: Alfred Borchard

There were a number of reasons. After only a week, I can already tell a huge difference in how I feel and I have noticed a difference in my children.

A few weeks ago, I was on facebook and noticed a “status” on a friend’s page that went something like this:

Family time: Mom’s on iphone, daughter’s on iphone, son’s on ipad, Dad’s on laptop.

That one little quip really bothered me. It sounded funny. But not really. It’s the sign of a disconnected family. Everyone off in their own little cyber space world. It’s what’s wrong with America today. It bothers me. I don’t want to be that family.

Now, honestly, we aren’t that bad. I’ve never considered computer time, family time. I monitor the kids usage daily, their devices are passworded and only I know the password. They have to have permission to get on. I’ve never believed it was healthy to have your head in “the box” for hours on end on a daily basis. But at the same time, I felt like we were missing something as a family. In our house, as busy as we are, we have a basic routine to our days. The kids do their school work then get their chores done so they can have “free time.” More often than not, as soon as their chores were done the request would come in, “Mom, can I get on my computer (or kindle, ipod, etc.)?” I realized that free time was no longer about discovering new interests, working on a hobby, learning a new skill, having quiet down time, or taking a walk. It was more and more about being wired to facebook or Messenger.

For myself, I realized that my desire to write a new article or share a new recipe often came before my desire to get other important things done. I also realized that being “wired in” 24/7 meant that I felt an obligation to provide daily material for my readers to enjoy so that my google rank stayed high. But then, it was also very easy to become distracted by a favorite blog, Pintrest, or a search for new recipes to try.

I have felt, for a long time, robbed of my time. But who was really stealing it? ME. The internet, with all of its fabulous ideas and inspiring articles draw us in, telling us that we need it. When the idea of disconnecting the internet first came up, I battled with it. I said things like, “I don’t know, I use it for homeschooling all the time. I use it for recipes, and so many things! I have a ministry and a blog! How can I give that up?”

But then, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart, whispering to me and I knew I needed to let it go. For our family. And then I felt peace. More peace than I have felt in a really, really long time.

I’ve noticed several things since disconnecting:

  1. I have more time. My days feel longer. I use to complain all the time that I just didn’t have enough time. I felt stressed an awful lot.  I have my life back.
  2. When I do go to the library to get on and post to A Virtuous Woman, I have a list of things that need to get done and I do them. No distractions. No wasted time. And as a bonus, we get our library things done for school while we are there. And on nice days, we walk – fresh mountain air and healthy exercise.
  3. I have re-discovered my cookbooks. I love it.
  4. I’ve been able to get some projects done that have been on the back burner for, sadly, years.
  5. My teens, who were bored out of their minds the first couple of days, are discovering a world outside the internet. Thank you, Lord. A true blessing indeed.
  6. I just feel happier. Who knew?

I can’t count the times I would read someone’s blog, thinking their life sounded so perfect, wishing mine was, and then telling myself – “Instead of dreaming about the perfect life, get up and live it.” I have always had a pretty good life. No, a really good life. A wonderful life. But now… it seems all the more so.

The simple life… is the good life.



This post may contain affiliate links.


If you loved this post, you might want to sign up to receive updates to your email or Subscribe to A Virtuous Woman via your favorite RSS Reader {I recommend Feedly}.




Melissa Ringstaff

Melissa Ringstaff is a pastor’s wife, serving with her husband in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. She is a homeschooling mother of five plus four and Grandarlin’ to 14 (so far) grandchildren. Melissa has been blogging at A Virtuous Woman since 2001. She has written several titles including Spring Cleaning for the Heart and Home, The Homemaker’s Journal: Keeping House, and Christian ADVENTures in Prophecy.

Latest posts by Melissa Ringstaff (see all)

3 Comments on Wired.

  1. Kristi
    March 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this. We cut off cable a few years ago, but had Netflix via our Blue Ray player. It was just as time consuming. Recently, we moved, and we don’t have Netflix. We do have computers, and devices, though. Every day starts out (STARTS OUT, like at 7 am) with, “Mom, can I get on the computer/your tablet/your PHONE?? Drives. me. insane. And mine only get 1/2 an hour a day, period. But, who am I to speak? I’m on constantly. I even have my Sabbath School lesson in an app on my phone! Something needs done. I like the idea of cutting it out all together (or at least mostly, we have some computer-based subjects that we must do on the computer).

    Reply
    • Melissa Ringstaff
      March 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Kristi, I really, really struggled with the whole idea. I mean, I used the internet ALL the TIME. Need to know something? Look it up on the web. Need recipe? Look it up on the web. Bored? Get on the web. School research? Look it up on the web. And so on. But now that we don’t have it, there is no more, “Mom, can I get on the internet?” It isn’t an option so, it isn’t a question. It’s been about three weeks now. My days feel so much longer. And not in a bad way. I feel like I get more accomplished, I feel less stressed. And I have my schedule for when we go to the library and get on. I don’t have the time to sit at the library for hours on end, so I decide before I get there what I need/ want to do on the net and I scratch it off my list when I am done. No more wasted time. The kids can get on the internet while we’re at the library, they can research their school projects, they can check out books. And we go twice a week – Tues. and Thurs. – for a certain amount of time. End of discussion. I LOVE the difference it has made in our lives – amazing for such a small time period, but it’s true. And we weren’t as bad as some folks who are literally glued to facebook, twitter, or whatever round the clock.

      Can you imagine what you could accomplish if you had that two or three or five or eight hours a day you (relatively speaking – not you personally) back? And honestly, I believe with all of my heart that the internet by and large is destroying and entire generation of youth. Think about it.

      Reply
  2. Mrs. Q
    March 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm (2 years ago)

    What an encouraging post, Melissa! I agree we as a society are so glued to technology–I posted about this a few posts back. I applaud you for your courage, because when the idea has been brought up of getting rid of the internet, I have always thought it couldn’t be done (I use it for homeschooling, I look up information, etc. etc.) I’m glad you are seeing such good fruit from doing this.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *