Challenge: Can you manage a week without going online for entertainment?

I decided to try. After all seven days can’t be that hard, can it?

Fiona Cameron Lister
8 min readJan 17, 2023


It’s amazing what you can do with 35 extra hours a week. Image: Fiona Cameron Lister

When I realised the other day that I was spending more time worrying about Prince Harry’s relationship with his brother than thinking about people I actually knew, I decided to take time off the internet.

We are only gifted so many minutes of life. As you get older you begin to see the time ahead of you as shorter than the time you have behind you. Do I really want to spend hours of my precious time reading about and watching royal celebrities I have never met and probably never will?

The Pursuit of Happiness

We all do it though, don’t we? Get sucked into mindless surfing and celeb gossip and watching videos like “Dog Thinks He’s a Potato”, “Mind Bending Dance Audition Where Dolls Come to Life” or “How to Make $2000 a Month With 25 Ducks!” (All real YouTube videos I have watched — embarrassing).

We binge watch Netflix so our important late night, pre-sleep moments are filled with gruesome corpses, serial killers and scheming criminals. Will those powerful messages to our subconscious make for a restful night? I don’t think so.

Kidding ourselves that we are researching an article or a book, we click on a link and dive deep into an online labyrinth where temptations lurk siren-like around every corner. It’s designed to be like this. To keep us hooked. I know people whose job it is to keep us in the virtual world for as long as possible, moving from link to link like a trapped lab rat desperate for the next tasty treat.

Let’s not kid ourselves. We are talking about addiction here.

Getting the next social media fix. Image: Jorge Barahona, Pixabay.

Going online has literally changed how we think and behave, creating new pathways in the brain and erasing others. Our attention spans are shorter, and we crave the instant gratification and dopamine high of a ‘ping’ or ‘like’ or heart emoji or a link to open.



Fiona Cameron Lister

Experienced British writer/editor/mentor in Italy | MWC semi-finalist| Loves words, history, humour, unusual subjects| Contact: