From paying bills, through shopping, buying plane tickets, online banking, to work and personal communication - in recent decades, our lives have practically gone online. So much so that we can't even remember how we lived before the internet age. There is hardly any disagreement that the ability to manage all areas of our lives only with the help of a laptop or phone makes our existence much easier, which is why we silently ignore the dark side of living online.


Loss of interest in the real world

It sounds scary, but we see it practically every day. Babies who still can't talk hold phones with 1/3 of their height and easily enter YouTube, look for children's movies or happily stare at their own selfie camera image, even pose for a photo. Not that it's bad for children to take care of themselves from an early age, on the contrary, but these same children can't hold the spoon properly when they eat, but they are already on the Internet.

Yes, the world is changing, technology is evolving and humanity needs to keep up with change. But where does the physical world remain, do we not lose touch with it, and more importantly, do we not lose touch with ourselves?

Many young people are already quite aware of this problem and are trying to lead a sustainable lifestyle, looking for a connection with nature and the eternal moral principles and foundations. There are many young families in our country who take the bold step to leave the big city, which is initially much more connected to the online space, and live a quieter life in the countryside. But they are still very few and inaccurate examples of offline life.

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#from life

Kind coercion

The world simply obliges us to be online, even if we don't notice it or deny it in front of us. Banks kindly force us to use online banking for our convenience. Retailers are forcing us to use their online catalog, to download their mobile application to follow the news they offer. Many businesses went online, especially in the last year, when the Kovid-19 pandemic hit trade severely. But it's a kind of compulsion that forces us to use the Internet for absolutely everything.


Internet access is absolutely necessary to find any information - job advertisements and applications, alternative sources of news, books, institutions, etc. To get all the information about traveling abroad, for example, we will certainly need the help of a person who works with the Internet. How can we find out about upcoming flights without the Internet? We can't even find a phone at the airport, we have to go there directly to be redirected to the site where full flight information is given. The fact that everything can now be found on the Internet relieves businesses, institutions, businesses of looking for other ways to provide information to citizens. 

An adult who does not work with the Internet has only one source of information - television. He largely remains out of society due to the inability to participate in public life and the lack of information about what is happening. Because television is far from exhausting everything we can and should know. It provides fragmentary and often one-sided information.

#man and nature

The pressure of social networks

Perhaps the most dangerous coercion we are unknowingly subjected to is social media. It sneaks in in good faith in various forms to connect with loved ones, for better communication, to reach a larger audience and potential customers for businesses, etc. When the pandemic closed in on our homes, everyone welcomed social media and blessed the Internet for the opportunity to stay together, albeit physically separated. This is an indisputable positive fact, but in this way we have even more allowed the Internet to enter our lives and take us away from ourselves.


Social networks want us to share, to connect with each other, to be engaged so that they can exist.

And we feel obligated to play this game - to share what we do, how we feel, who we are with, what our plans are for next year, to participate in public discussions and to follow what is happening with the lives of our "friends". The use of social networks has become inevitable. If you don't have Facebook, it's as if you don't exist. If you don't share for a while, your friends start to worry - are you alive, how are you.


The so-called "vlogging" has deepened things even further, forcing us to capture even the most personal moments of our lives. Probably each of you has felt the compulsion to make your own YouTube channel. One says to oneself: Everyone has a channel, why shouldn't I do it myself ?! However, few people really realize why they want a channel and what it will bring them.


Can we really be offline?

The truth is that no or very difficult. But this will mean living in almost complete ignorance of what is happening in the world and with very limited contacts, albeit more real. It has been proven that online friendships are not real friendships, or at least not as complete as real ones. But in today's world it is difficult and will become more and more difficult to communicate in the traditional way, which is increasingly losing its meaning, because communication on the Internet is becoming traditional.


However, we can try to reduce the time we spend in front of our screens and ask ourselves a few important questions:


  • Why do I enter social networks? Do they contribute anything to my life and mental balance or do I just use them as a way to fill my time?

If the answer is no, don't bring me anything positive, don't be afraid to delete your accounts. If Facebook does not bring you joy and benefit, but only burdens you mentally and makes you doubt yourself, comparing yourself to the success of others - it's time to give it up. Social networks create a deceptive image of people. No one shares their failures, everyone shares only the joys and successes, and you see half (or maybe less) of what others are actually experiencing.


  • Do I really want a YouTube channel? Do I need to shoot videos or just try not to stay behind?


If the answer is no again - there is no point in putting effort into something that burdens you and does not bring you joy or money. Your time is precious, think about what you can invest it in so that you are satisfied with what you have achieved and do not feel that you have wasted it.


What do you want to leave behind?


Think about what you want to be remembered for and what you want to be left with. Do not forget! You can write great posts on social networks, shoot infinitely interesting videos that become "viral" in a short time, but in reality everything you say is quickly forgotten and stays somewhere "Feed", as an undetectable item or goes to the last pages in search engines. If the things you do online don't add value to your life, there's no point in them. If what you're uploading today will matter to you or someone else tomorrow, then it's worth the effort.


The online space is vast and you can never be the best and first in everything, so there is no point in trying. Think of everything you could do offline - walk in nature, improve your talents and skills, learn a new language, really meet friends and really share, read books, do charity work, start a new business - the possibilities are limitless. Yes, we can't live without the internet, but we can't live with it alone!

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Spanish poetry: Jose Angel Valente

Spanish poetry: Jose Angel Valente

Jose Angel Valente is a poet, essayist and translator. He was born on April 25, 1929 in Ourense, Galicia. Jose Angel Valente is a poet, essayist and translator. He was born on April 25, 1929 in Ourense, Galicia. He studied law and Romance philology, taught Spanish philology in ...

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