Living behind a screen is not Living at All

Caitlin - Clifton Springs, New York
Entered on May 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

After reading an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau in my eleventh grade English class, I decided to make my own philosophical move. Since Thoreau gave up any human interaction while living on Walden Pond, I decided to give up my human interaction that took place through a computer. I deleted all of the programs that kept me squinting into a glowing box for all hours of the day and night.

In the time that I spent without the stimulation of Facebook, Myspace or Instant Messaging, I learned a lot: about myself, about my friends, about human nature. Most of us adhere to the saying “Love the one you’re with,” but not on purpose. If someone’s name doesn’t pop up on your Buddy List, they are easily overlooked. I received noticeably less invitations from friends. I realized that people are becoming awkward and un-personable around each other because of how easily we get caught up in online banter.

Although it is easy doing so, I learned that it is important for us not to place too much emphasis on what people say in a Myspace comment. Rather, to focus on what their actions portray. It is easy to hate someone when you are both behind computer screens. It is easy to love someone when you are sitting next to them on a park bench. Compassion is necessary. I think that humans are precious, but some of that sentiment is beginning to get lost through the effortlessness with which we make weekend plans, share pictures, and even fancy ourselves romantics. The joy of speaking with a friend, the nervousness of sharing a laugh with a crush, and the beauty of learning from someone else is being lost as it travels through the high-speed internet airwaves shooting millions of miles above our heads. It’s time to learn how to love each other again. This I believe.