Hi, I discovered this community thanks to /r/nosurf, which I have been following for several months.
I’m in my late 20’s, married, and I don’t work (my choice). My partner and I have two cats and a dog, and we live in the United States.
During the last couple years I’ve been decreasing my internet and screen usage slowly, but I really got started in February after the whole Facebook Cambridge-Analytica scandal. I was already disenchanted with social media because I knew that it made me feel awful – I was constantly comparing myself to other people and wasting time checking to see how many likes I got on each photo I uploaded. At the break of the scandal, my Facebook had been deactivated for a few weeks, but I went back into my account to permanently delete it. My partner did the same with his account.
Around the same time, I watched a young, bright and cheerful cousin of mine become entrenched in social media. She’s in high school and spends all of her time on Snapchat, to the point where I can barely hold a conversation with her anymore. It’s not my job to parent her, so I let her do what she likes, but watching her becoming addicted to her phone really strengthened my resolve to decrease my screen time A LOT.
Over the course of a few weeks, my partner and I deleted every extraneous internet account we could find. I had three (yes, three) Tumblr accounts, two Instagram accounts, two Myspace accounts, Snapchat, and numerous blogs that I had started and then abandoned. We also stopped using most Google services because we were worried about advertising and data. I know that’s not necessarily what nosurf is about, but for me all of this went hand-in-hand. I felt like the internet had control over my time, my information, and my past. I didn’t want it to control my future anymore.
There were a couple accounts I kept: a Google account for YouTube, Reddit, and a language-learning forum.
In the last 6 months, here’s what I’ve been able to do with my extra time:
- Keep my house clean
- Start cooking regularly with fresh produce
- Self-teach myself French to a low-intermediate level
- Read the first Harry Potter book in French
- Work out twice a week
- Start lifting
- Go from underweight to a normal weight
- Take two vacations
- Do more outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking
- And my personal favorite, not care what people think of me
BUT I want to do better. Recently I’ve come to realize that the screen still has power over me, even though its power has been lessened dramatically. So I’m here to find new ways to decrease the time spent online or in front of screens.
YouTube isn’t really a problem for me, since I mostly utilize it to listen to podcasts, background study ambiences, and ASMR, all of which I can do without looking at the screen. Reddit is the website that I think I have the most trouble with. It’s so hard for me to admit to myself that I don’t really get much out of it – I feel like I’m getting social connection and educational information from Reddit, but really I’m just scrolling through tons of information that I’m going to forget again in an hour. I’d love to hear any ideas or inspiration about quitting Reddit.
Decreasing screen time in general is going to be tricky. One of my problems is that I spend several hours a day working on French, and all but two of my resources require the internet or at least screen time, since I don’t have access to native speakers. I was inspired by the recent post by /u/acertaincalmnesss and I downloaded a free trial of HeyFocus for my MacBook, which seems like a good place to start. I will probably start blocking everything except my language-learning sites and see how that goes.
Anyway. If you read all that, thanks! I’m glad to be here with other people who are interested in improving their lives.