We Must Fall In Love With The Internet | Janell Burley Hofmann | 2 Min Read

This week we are talking about love. Perhaps it’s love for our partners or family members, love for a child or student, love for a pet or best friend, love for our favorite barista or pizza delivery driver. In this state of love that we’re in and reflecting on, why don’t we add the Internet to our list? That’s right, let’s fall in love with the Internet. 

When I talk with parents and educators about tech, I always encourage this kind of love. It feels critical to consider how we use our screens as a relationship. It’s alive. It’s fluid. It shifts and changes. When we think about this through the lens of a relationship, we begin to see that there is work to do, but also peace to make. We take down our walls of resistance and begin to get curious. We think about boundaries differently. We might feel that we can actually enjoy our tech and also turn it off sometimes and spend some time without it. 

Below, I’ve outlined eight reasons to build that healthy, loving relationship with tech. So, go ahead, this is your permission slip to fall in love. 

  1. Acknowledge the Internet exists and is here to stay.  It will be part of our lives and the lives of our children. This doesn’t mean we need to adopt it all at once. We can take our time and be thoughtful and deliberate. We can go slow. 
  2. Celebrate our children’s success and tech positive experiences in the same way we might away from their screens. In love, we are free to name what is great about the Internet, openly talk about how it makes life better, more convenient personally & professionally.
  3. When we love something—our passion, knowledge, and understanding grow. When we love the web, we increase our digital literacy. We know it. We understand it. We have a relationship with it. We ask questions. We get educated. We care. 
  4. Like any good loving relationship, there will be joys & challenges. We celebrate and acknowledge the joys allowing us to address and face the challenges—not quit on it, resent it or wish it away. Work on it. 
  5. We can determine what is a healthy relationship to technology for ourselves. We can look at this health and well-being through the lens of physical, social, and emotional well-being and know that it might shift and change as we shift and change. 
  6. We can ask for help, guidance, and mentorship and so can our children. We can ask for what we need, we can address technical gaps, and improve our online strategies for a healthy dynamic. 
  7. Falling in love doesn’t mean we give our lives over to it. It means balance, good habits, and thoughtfulness. It means understanding the other half of the relationship.
  8. We don’t hide the Internet. We make it work for us. We talk about it. We understand its strengths and limitations and work towards making the Internet a better place individually and collectively.

Janell Burley Hofmann

Janell Burley Hofmann is an international author, speaker and consultant specializing on the topics of technology, media, health, relationships and well-being. Janell is the creator of the original iPhone contract and a thought leader in the space of digital mindfulness, digital parenting and intentional use of tech. She is the author of the book, iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up published by Rodale, Inc. Janell is the founder of the Slow Tech Movement and iRules Academy. Janell has worked on four continents across diverse demographics, cultures, religions, and socioeconomics. Sensitive to the needs of each community, Janell works with schools, youth, families, educators, and organizations while offering private coaching and consulting sessions. Janell’s professional expertise and personal experience as a mother of five children builds strong connections with a wide and varied population. Janell engages readers, clients and audiences in relevant and meaningful conversations igniting personal empowerment, awareness and purpose in a partnership that will positively impact all. Janell’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies, a Master’s Degree in Critical and Creative Thinking and she is currently working towards her licensure in mental health counseling. Her featured talks include two-time TEDx presenter, SxSW, YPO Southeast Asia Summit, Peace Corp Workshop Leader, Homecoming Day Nagoya University, Nagoya Japan, YPO Middle East Tour, Women2Women International Summit and MIT Strata Center. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Good Morning America, USA Today, National Public Radio, BBC News and The Associated Press.

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