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Did you hear the TERRIBLE news?

Oh, my goodness. It was so terrible. It was the most terrible thing to happen in the world. It was unbelievable. It is so bad that I don’t know if I can tell you the true story.

Maybe you can guess. What was the super terrible thing that happened in the world yesterday?

Was it a huge fire that damaged so many trees, homes, and destroyed the environment?

No, not that.

Was it like a volcano, with magma spilling out, burning through at the city? Did Fuji-san explode and destroy Tokyo?

No, not that.

Was it like a big war in a country like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel? Did North Korea decide to attack the world?

No, not that either.

Maybe it was like aliens that came to our planet. They said that they were friendly, but they were not friendly aliens at all. Soon they want to take all the humans with them to space and we will have to work for them out in the universe somewhere.

No, nothing like that.

Ok, here is the terrible news. I will tell you. It was … that Facebook and Instagram stopped working yesterday for six hours.

Can you believe it? That was so shocking and terrible and scary for people all over the world. Instagram stopped for most of an afternoon.

What do you think?

Do you think that is a big problem? Well, luckily the time that Facebook and Instagram stopped working was when it was late night in Japan. We did not have to experience our lives without Facebook or Instagram. But many people around the world had some trouble because they could not use SNS in their usual way.

I think that almost all of us use the Internet and SNS tools every day. We use Instagram and LINE and Facebook. We have a lot of our interaction with friends and family through these tools. In many ways, we think that we NEED these SNS tools, and if we don’t have the Internet our lives will be terrible.

But I don’t agree. I don’t think we NEED the Internet so much. Maybe we think that the Internet is real, and maybe we think that our digital lives are real. But they are not real. A digital life and a real life are different. We can use SNS to send photos and messages, but face-to-face talking is better. We may like to look at websites and LINE, but outside is better. Nature is better. Our friends talking and laughing with us is better. Playing with your dog is better than taking a picture of your dog. Playing with a friend is better than LINE messages with your friend. A game in the park with friends is better than a game on your cell phone.

I like to use my computer. I like to use my cell phone. But I want to remember that a human life is for living. A human life is not for recording and saving to Instagram. It is true that the Facebook and Instagram trouble yesterday was not fun for many people, but I hope we can have less SNS in our lives and communication more and more.

Let’s try to remember that it is okay for us to use a cell phone, but it is not okay for the cell phone, and Facebook and Instagram, to use us. We own technology and the digital world. The digital world does not own us.

Let’s put the phone in a pocket for a day, or so. Let’s go outside and enjoy the incredible fall season we are having from now. The trees will change from green to orange, red, and yellow. I want to see all of that with my own eyes. I want to feel the cool autumn wind on my face. I want to have time with my family and friends.

And we don’t need a cell phone to really enjoy that deeply at all.