For­sak­ing tech­nol­ogy

Townsville Bulletin - - Life Religion -

CHOCOLATE. Soft drinks. Fast food and Face­book.

These are just some of life’s plea­sures peo­ple have cho­sen to ab­stain from this year dur­ing the pe­riod of Lent.

In the past, it was the ex­tras such as lol­lies or tele­vi­sion that peo­ple gave up for 40 days, but now things like tex­ting and Face­book are join­ing the list.

But f or some Chris­tians, t he mod­ern-day trend of so­cial net­work­ing is just too tempt­ing to give up.

Lent is the pe­riod of week­days when Chris­tians ob­serve three prac­tices of giv­ing, fast­ing and prayer. Start­ing on Ash Wed­nes­day, which this year fell on March 9, it goes un­til Easter Sun­day, this year fall­ing on April 24.

Michael Orr, a teacher at Sa­cred Heart Pri­mary School in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Mos­man said he was en­cour­ag­ing his Year 3 stu­dents to stop com­puter games.

‘‘ It’s tough for them. But even if they try just ev­ery sec­ond day, it’s good. Then they are free to play on Sun­days,’’ he said.

‘‘ No one’s bound by Lent on Sun­days.’’ He be­lieves so­cial net­work­ing takes up too much time in the lives of peo­ple and they don’t have time to re­flect on life.

‘‘ If peo­ple spend less time on Face­book, they’ll spend more time with their fam­ily and friends,’’ he said. Adding that time is also a s acrif i ce. ‘ ‘ Be­cause t ech­nol­ogy never stops, it’s im­por­tant, es­pe­cially with what is hap­pen­ing in Ja­pan, to stop and re­flect and think about these is­sues.

‘‘ Lent is not a de­pra­va­tion, it’s a time to look at who we are,’’ Orr said.

Year 12 St Mary’s Cathe­dral Col­lege stu­dent, Alex, said usu­ally he choose to ab­stain from fast food or sweets, but this year he was try­ing to cut down on the time he spends

SAC­RI­FICE: Lent is the pe­riod be­tween Ash Wed­nes­day and Easter Sun­day when Chris­tians give, fast and pray on the in­ter­net. ‘‘ Nor­mally, I would use the in­ter­net ev­ery day. For Lent I’m try­ing to stop pro­cras­ti­nat­ing on it. I feel bet­ter. It ( so­cial net­work­ing) is a big part of our lives,’’ said the 17-year-old.

With more than 500 mil­lion users, Face­book is a big part of many peo­ple’s daily rou­tine. Peo­ple spend more than 700 bil­lion min­utes per month on Face­book, and ac­cord­ing t o U S m o n i t o r i n g c o m p a n y , Ping­dom, the av­er­age Face­book user is 38-years-old.

Bris­bane-based Danielle King, 39, said when she was younger she’d try and stop eat­ing l ol­lies dur­ing Lent.‘‘ I’d try and be smart and tell my par­ents eta­bles.’’

Go­ing to a Catholic school in Grif­fith, NSW, she said Lent was a big part of the year.

To­day, she said it would be im­pos­si­ble for her to give up Face­book and all forms of so­cial net­work­ing for 40 days.

‘‘ I’d feel like my right arm was cut off. I’m a so­cial me­dia but­ter­fly. I’m on it all day – even from work.’’

King ad­mited she was ad­dicted to Face­book and up­loads her site most days with new mes­sages and pho­tos – es­pe­cially be­cause her fam­ily was in­ter­state.

‘‘ I have a friend who is giv­ing up

I was

giv­ing up

veg- tex­ting for Lent. She sent a mes­sage ( at the be­gin­ning of Lent) ask­ing peo­ple to re­spect her wish. But for me it would be very, very dif­fi­cult to stop.’’

A n o t h e r S y d n e y s t u d e n t , Lawrence, 17, said the pri­est giv­ing the Ash Wed­nes­day li­turgy had asked the St Mary’s Cathe­dral Col­lege stu­dents to try giv­ing up some­thing dif­fer­ent for Lent such as so­cial net­work­ing. ‘‘ It’s a mod­ern way of ap­proach­ing Lent which is good,’’ he said. Not be­ing a big user of Face­book, Lawrence has cho­sen non-phys­i­cal ab­sti­nence this year – he’s vowed to stop ar­gu­ing with his brothers and sis­ters.

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