My little cousin would always smack her shiny iPhone onto my face. Her eyes would brighten up every time the progress bar of her downloaded game would exceed 70%. She would jump up and down with too much excitement when a notification pops up or when tilting her phone would change the entire orientation of the tiny browser screen.

Her screams of joy would fill the whole room and I was just staring at her like a jealous 4-year-old. Although, I am no way near jealous at all. Yes, a 4-year-old has an iPhone and her 23-year-old cousin doesn’t even own one. No, not jealous at all.

Her older sister could not help but ask me why I don’t own an iPhone or an iPad or even a mini for that matter. She even uttered “You design websites. You should own one.” Well, it makes good sense, doesn’t it?

Then, I contemplated.

She sat beside me with a Kindle tablet on her hand. Swiping and gliding her fingers onto the screen, I could not help but look at how she does it with finesse. Facebook notifications popping up, chat messages, status updates from her fellow fifth-graders. Browser tabs, too many of them are open, websites and Google images, you name it.

Unexpectedly, after a few minutes, the power went out. No internet. No electricity. There was a unison sigh from both the kids.

drawing

One alternative to smartphones, tablets, or the internet in general – Crayons!

These days, the internet has become indispensable and because of the massive production of tablets and smartphones, it is now relatively easy to connect and to sync with your social networks, check your e-mails, and even make VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls like Skype among others right there on your hands – literally.

The world became smaller because of the growth of the internet. Difficult tasks became easier because of new applications, new models, and new innovations. Information gathering became swift as you would just input a search term and choose among the myriad of resources in less than one-sixteenth of a second. It is really overwhelming and it is genuinely a very clever piece of technology.

It is no doubt that the internet can be so addicting to some people. Why wouldn’t it? Too many tabs are open. Too many entertainment – games, sports, videos, music. Too many things to do – play, watch, search, read, draw, show-off. Too many celebrities to mimic. Too many sites to visit. Too many people to stalk. Too many. Too many. Too many hours spent online. It’s crazy!

It is like you could not live without it… but the fact is, you absolutely can!

I firmly believe that the internet has a lot of things to offer and it could even be a life-saver to some. Heck, it makes virtual connections better. It makes the world better as it delivers good information across all continents. Although, sometimes I think that the internet can become a hazard to a lot of people.

Why?

The very reason that it disrupts the workflow plasters its name as a hazard. Children as young as 10 crave for Facebook leaving them less time to focus on their chores and more so, their education. Games and apps are the new “hide and seek” in this generation and I could not imagine a world filled with so many devices connecting children to the internet and making them dependent.

Due to its increased demand today, the internet is not just a thing you could “check back to when there’s time” anymore. It is everywhere and every time. It is the new age of technology – replacing simple things into simpler things. It engulfs us – mostly our time – whether it is for work, or for school, or for a particular research, or maybe even just to let time pass. It qualifies as an activity where it automatically fills in the void of our schedule.

WiFi is everywhere. Tablets fit in most pockets. Smartphones have built-in GPS. What more can a normal human being ask for in this present state?

Sometimes we just have to choose to be offline – to breathe, to hear our heart beat, to fancy the sound of silence, to stop and ask for directions, to talk to actual people, and to create a conversation without the ability to press a button or think twice about sending an instant message, to fall in love, to get hurt, to see the sunset, to smell the roses. Sometimes, we just have to have that connection in the past. The one that we all grew up with.

swimming

Imagine trekking for an hour and crossing three creeks just to bathe in this cool little waterfall.

I choose not be online every minute, every second, every moment because I want to savor time – appreciate every single thing that is happening aside from notifications and pop-ups and newly uploaded YouTube videos. I want the real thing – the real life – not necessarily the virtual one.

It is because of too much hours on the internet (the line of work that I am engaged in) that I learned to appreciate the normal pace of life – the normal pace of time. I crave for my own time, my own space, my own senses interacting with the world around me – not looking at everyone’s selfies, or relationship status changes, or X-factor results. I long for something different. Something that holds meaning and breathes life onto my body. And that something is as simple as turning the computer off.

When I heard the sigh of my cousins, I just chuckled and grabbed a book to read. Both of them were clamoring and were so restless – running around the room, yelling and asking when will the power be back.

“Poor kids. Never let the internet consume you.” I uttered.

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