New person here... hi!


#1

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.


#2

So glad I could inspire you! I just wanted to recommend blocking certain websites to you but you are ahead of the game :slight_smile: Loved reading your post, seems like you’ve made wonderful progress and can be very, very proud of yourself!!! Good luck for your future attempts!!


#3

Hey Zelda! Welcome to the community!

I’ve managed to quit reddit for the most part, I still check /r/nosurf once in a while as I’m one of the mods but aside from that I’m rarely on it. Reddit can be really, really hard to quit as unlike other social media (twitter, snapchat, instagram) it does seem to have content that seems legitimate informative and useful.

but then i started noticing that it was essentially the same kind of posts over and over again with little emphasis on quality. There were “shit posts”, there were “hive minds” of unthinking herd mentality, and the discussion was centered around new topics, rather than ongoing meaningful idscussion.

Once realizing these things I started to notice the rationalizing process that would go on in my mind. I had to take a leap and just decide to block reddit for a while until I finally realized that I was feeling way happier with out. Most of it just constant noise that adds little value to my life.

It sounds cliche but Nike’s motto of just do it is applicable here. You can try to committing to a certain period of days without checking reddit. What happens is this gives you a clean break and helps your mind “clear”. You feel so much better and you start noticing all the lies your brain told you to keep you there. You start to realize that this wasn’t really “you” it was the part of your brain that was just addicted to reddit.

What I recommend is setting a challenge for yourself and commiting to it for maybe a month. It’s a lot easier to convince ourselves to take a break rather than quit completely which can seem really daunting for us.

Also it might be beneficial to ask your partner to keep you accountable. Maybe they can block it on your laptop and if you have an iPhone set up restrictions mode so that you can’t redownload it.

Good luck!


#4

Welcome, Zelda, to the NoSurf community!

The steps you have already taken are quite substantial and you can truly congratulate yourself on that. As for what remains of the internet‘s allure, I‘m sure we can support you on your path to getting to where you want to be.

I am impressed that you dove headlong into reading a „real“ book in a language you just started learning. How difficult was it for you? I am interested because I‘m currently doing the same for Spanish.


#5

Hey Zelda, glad to have you here! You sound really determined and I am positively surprised to read how much steps you have already been taking to gain your life back! :slight_smile: this is already a small success story on its own, you can really be proud of yourself. I’m sure you can achieve your new goals! :slight_smile:


#6

Wow, thanks for your informative reply! It was exactly what I needed to start blocking reddit full-time. I’m going to try it for two weeks and see how it goes. A month feels a little too scary for me at the moment.

This is true. It’s hard enough for me to retain lots of information when I’m gaining it through books and podcasts, and Reddit just makes this worse by being a disastrous mess and a massive echo-chamber.


#7

@Anthymn thank you!! I’m happy to be here too.

Very cool that you’re learning Spanish! I’m excited for you because learning a language is so fun and challenging.

Personally, I tried reading graded readers… you know those small little books written just for language learners?.. and I hated them. I discovered that I can’t read anything that I wouldn’t also read in English, so I used that to guide me toward the first HP book. I don’t think anyone’s ever ready for reading something like Harry Potter, you just have to dive in. I always understood what was happening, but there were hundreds of words I didn’t know. Sometimes whole sentences would elude me. I didn’t let that stop me: as long as I understood generally what was happening in each paragraph, I soldiered on. And I discovered that it’s ridiculously fun to read in a foreign language when you allow yourself to get in the flow instead of looking up every other word in a dictionary.

Personally, the toughest part about reading was the vocabulary. Also, French fiction is very different than spoken French, just like in English you wouldn’t use terms like “he allowed himself a grin” or “he was rattled” in everyday speech. So be prepared for that. If I came across a phrase several times and I really wanted to know its meaning, I would write it down to look it up later.

Sorry for that whole book about reading in a foreign language! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I just want to give you some confidence. I never believed people who told me that I just had to try, but one day I got sick of putting it off, and I’m glad I did!