The internet stole my life

A teen’s brilliant plan to break away from electronic devices

I decided to give up the internet. No more surfing websites, chatting on social media, playing video games or watching Netflix.

When I turned my smartphone and two tablets over to my parents, it felt like a nightmare and I thought I would have serious withdrawal issues.

So, why did I do it? I realized how trapped I was by electronics and that they literally stole my life!

As a teenager learning to make decisions on my own, the internet provided me the opportunity to make my own choices. It was liberating and I loved it! I could explore all kinds of information on various sites and chat with other teens I just met online.

However, I soon came to realize some sites were not good choices and others had misinformation, but I was curious so I continued to explore. The more I explored, the more I realized the internet was harming me.

secluded myself in my bedroom connected to electronics all of the time, and the sites I visited were having a negative impact on my thoughts and feelings. In addition, if I was without my electronics, I was unhappy, short-tempered and miserable.

It also affected my grades. As an upcoming senior, I wanted to break this negative habit, as I know the choices I make today will affect my future.

The first day without the internet, I didn’t know what to do with all the time I previously had devoted to the internet and electronics. I decided to do something productive, so I began to read books (lots of books!), color, draw and paint. Of course, I couldn’t just read, color and paint all day; so I decided to clean my room, make my bed and organize.

I never realized how happy and free I could be without my electronics and internet! I wasn’t happy because I was doing chores (no kid is, am I right?), but because I created a life for myself that didn’t involve my eyes being glued to a screen in cyber world but instead connected to the real world.

My friends have been supportive of my decision and are intrigued by the idea. My family is more conscious of the time they are devoting to the internet themselves, so we spend more time together. And my twin sister has given up social media for a while to focus on more important things.

The freedom I have gained by losing my electronics is amazing. Actually, it is a blessing! Not only have I been able to create a life for myself, but I am also growing my relationship with my family — and let me tell you, it’s awesome!

My mom and I now have dance parties in the car every morning, and we talk. Before I was a zombie with ear buds in my ears. I may not be one of the coolest kids for sporting a flip phone instead of a smartphone, but I certainly am one of the happiest!

Everywhere I go I see people glued to their phones — while crossing the street, driving or eating dinner with their friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, phones are helpful because you can communicate easily, but phones also can be harmful.

I know it is not realistic to be completely “internet free” in today’s world. So after school starts, I plan to have a specific time each day to do my homework and eventually allow myself a small amount of “free” time to surf the internet recreationally on positive websites. I plan to have a family member available to keep me accountable.

I feel if my generation could ease their grip on electronics and the internet, we would be a better and healthier generation. We have the power to make this world a better place, and we can start by giving up or reducing our time on electronics and stop being consumed by the internet.

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