I’ve chosen Sherry Turkle’s chapter called “The Nick of Time” as the subject for this reflection. In it, she takes a more comprehensive look at everything she’s discussed in Reclaiming Conversation and presents the audience with some “guideposts” on how to live a fuller life, less dictated by our online interactions. This chapter feels like the sort of nudge most people really need.
It’s time to get out of the frying pan, and into the fire. It’s time to get uncomfortable. As Turkle says, these days “we turn the physical realm into an echo chamber of what we have so easily created online…It’s a cozy life, but we risk not learning anything new” (Turkle, 322). I want to learn something new. I don’t want to close myself off from the experiences of others because of the biases I’ve cultivated online. I’m done living in my own private sphere. The thing is, I’m kind of afraid I can’t do it. I know Turkle says it’s damaging to refer to our interactions with technology as an addiction, but sometimes it can really feel that way. The screen separation anxiety is real.
But if I can’t disconnect for myself (at least for a little while), I think I can do it for my younger siblings. They’re my absolute favorite humans on the planet, and I can see them suffering. I see how difficult it is for them to form meaningful friendships, I see how the internet gobbles them up and spits them out, and I see how little time they spend outside. So as a little pledge to myself, I’m going to try and take at least one of Turkle’s suggestions. Starting today, I want to “experiment with an evening or a weekend off the net as a regular part of [my] routine” (Turkle, 321). Hopefully, I can get my siblings to embark on this journey with me. Something tells me I’ll face a fair amount of resistance. But hey, at least we’ll be having a conversation.