Tuesday, March 03, 2015

`The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World' {Review}

"Lasting change happens when people see for themselves that a different way of living is more fulfilling than their present one" - Eknath Easweran
I use the Internet a lot.  Whether it's googling my kid's latest symptoms, mapquesting a new location, banking, emailing, or updating my Instagram account, it is a huge part of my life.  I think it makes day to day life more efficient and convenient.  However, now that I've had my iPhone for about a year, I can see that I love it a bit too much.  Have you ever taken a step back and looked at yourself when your phone is misplaced?!   Also, with my eldest turning 9 soon, I'm feeling the pressure of teaching him wisdom, safety, and self control in regards to the wonderful world wide web so I better figure it out first.

In order to start reflecting on my usage and the potential changes that I could make,  I read the book `The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World' by Christina Crook.  Christina is a journalist, TEDx speaker, wife and mother of three.  She said `goodbye' to the Internet for 31 days.  No Facebook, email, Netflix, blogging, online banking etc for a month.  Could you do it? I don't think I could.

Christina addresses three main areas in attaining a balance in the digital world; where we are now technologically and how we got here, what the impact is on ourselves and our families, and finally, different ideas on how to detox and create new habits.  She tackles this by sharing informative resources and quotes, descriptive storytelling, and first hand experiences.

I want to share a few of the many questions that Christina either poses or considers:

Did you know that teenagers are losing the ability to read faces and empathize due to so many of their interactions happening online?  When they type `LOL' are they actually even smiling at all?

Are you really forming connections and relationships online or are they just `likes' and `shares' and nothing deeper?

What moves and sustains you?  What do you seek?

Did you know Japan has `fasting' camps for Internet addicted youth?

In answering the question `What do you seek?', I know that I want to be more present with my family.  I don't want my kids to see me on my phone all the time.  It's easier when I'm at work because it would be frowned upon to be checking out social media sites, but at home...oh boy...it helps me feel like I'm escaping the monotony.  What moves and sustains me?  I love the outdoors.  I love travel.  I love exploring.  I need to make sure that we do more of this as a family.

Christina provides many ideas on how to adjust your social media usage. She has a long term plan so that it's much more attainable and realistic.   One of the changes that I am going to be implementing is being offline on Sundays from 7 am to 7 pm.  I'll let you know how it goes...on Monday!

I would encourage you to have a discussion with yourself and/or a loved one on what balance might look like in your life.  The decisions we make in regards to the Internet will impact our children and therefore future generations.  I appreciate that Christina remains positive and hopeful throughout. She recognizes the benefits of the Internet but really encourages reflection, change and balance.

As written on page 142:

Yes to freedom.

Yes to simpler.

Yes to together.

Sounds good, right?

She quotes Henry David Thoreau in her book saying, `Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.' (pg. 154).   I want this.  Connect......to others, not just the Internet.  I would love to hear your thoughts on your personal online and offline balance!


{This is a picture of the lovely Christina Crook}

If you are interested in reading a sample chapter, learning more, or purchasing her book, you can find it here.  If purchasing, just indicate in `Additional Information' that you are a friend of Jelly Marketing and it will get mailed out right away.

**Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to facilitate the review.  The opinions here are my own.**


  1. Aha. A huge battle around here lately. Not huge, but its definitely on both of our minds! I've been studying Women in the BIble and came across the Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs.
    "She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness."
    Do you think the time we spend on social media, tv, etc is idle time? I understand we all need down time, but as Christians, should we be engaging ourselves in so much time spent idle? As down time should we be reading Gods word? Devotions? Engaging in others? Hobbies?
    What are your thoughts on this? :) I'm kind of on the fence right now with this one.

    Annnd it all started when you said you were reading Christinas book!!!!! :)

    1. Adrienne, you need to guest post on this :) I think we need to figure out for ourselves what is idle (empty, nothing, fruitless). I personally don't see connecting with friends online as idle but just looking through facebook to see what's new? I say `pretty idle'. Tv-I think if there is a series I like to watch then it's okay. but I do have a problem just channel surfing to find something to watch (if that makes sense). I think it all comes down to just reflecting how you spend your time, figuring out what you want to change to live life more fully, and take those steps. For me, it's baby steps but I am being much more aware of cuddle/reading/park time with my kids and making those count more. I don't know if anything is clear here but I say `high five' to you for at least trying to figure out what is idleness and how this might relate to your every day life.

  2. Yes. Totally. Here too. We don't have any channels, but I totaly see where you're coming from. I started reading books again instead of Facebook at night ( I'm not into social media that much honestly. Twitter confuses my mind) and when it's for the kiddos, it's bible reading time here instead of facebook/links off facebook for a good half hour...
    FB became a time killer for me. I'd spend wayyyy too much time on there looking at peoples pictures etc. People I have honestly no real connection with outside of facebook. Or I'd see what I could buy on the buy sell swap site through fb, looking for "more more more".....Silly, but true. So now I'm taking the same steps as you. Reading time with kids, puzzles, games etc instead of phone time. No phones in the barn, and not around the kids. (Not that we don't want them to see us using them, but we can easily ignore them or ask them to wait until we're done this or that on our phones. Little do they know were looking up breeding information for cows, paying bills, looking up our last shipments etc. Amazingly scary how we get into habits so fast isn't it!

    Good luck with the sundays off. I might just challenge Kyle and myself to that as well.

  3. Great review! I'll have to check out the book myself! I've been realizing the impact of my own internet "addiction" lately on the family. We are all on the computer/tv/phone/tablet too much! I want my kids to see that I have other habits that are just as good, if not better, than wasting my time looking up items on Pinterest or seeing what my "FB Friends" are doing (that's what I call the ones that I'm not friends with outside of the computer!)
    Great verse posted above re: idleness! It really does make you consider how you spend your time.

    My friend does "No Screen Sunday" and sometimes a "Wireless Weekend". I found that the weekend we did that, at first my kids weren't too happy, but they found things to do to occupy themselves. And so did I! It was nice to see us all being active again (running around outside with friends or even just getting off of the couch to do activities!)
    Good luck with your Sunday fast!

  4. Very interesting. I could definitely implement something like the Sunday 7 to 7. We have had no TV for a few weeks now (not by choice) and it's been good, but I think the whole phone and computer thing I could definitely tone down.

    1. Kelly-Sunday 7 to 7 is going really well. The only problem is that I sometimes get emails to work that week (on the Sunday) so I do have to quickly scan my inbox.

  5. I love the idea of this. I heard about a teacher having her Grade 7 class go without social media for three days. You could be 12 or 42 and still need those breaks to make you evaluate what you are giving, what you are seeking. I will be trying this this summer!

    1. Sounds great, Shawna! Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you!