A big part of any preparedness program is being ready to go without electricity for a few days, or even weeks at a time. When the power goes out during an emergency or natural disaster, so does your furnace, air conditioning, refrigerator, lighting…and your computer. Sure, you can run your laptop on battery power for a few hours, but chances are your WIFI is not going to be around. Gone would be Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, and Google+. So, putting the rest aside for a little bit, do you know how to survive without the Internet?
Studies show that people are pretty glued to their devices. We are either in front of our computer or holding our tablet, phone, or other device pretty much all the time. Sure, it’s nice to be connected to all the friends and information the Net has to offer, but what happens when it all goes away, even for a couple of days? In a disaster, most reasonable people would say that being connected to the World Wide Web would be the least of their worries. But think about all the stuff you use it for. How are you going to survive without the Internet and not lose your sanity? Here are a few things to consider doing now before your Internet goes dark.
1. Buy the books. Look, if you have no power, your Kindle is only going to last you so long. In the case of an EMP or similar situation, it may not work at all. So buy the books. Buy books so you can read totally unplugged. In a disaster, there may be no other way to escape the stress. Perhaps most importantly, buy a family preparedness manual and a set of encyclopedias for the kids. After all, without the Internet, there’s no Google to help you with your homework, tell you how to purify water, or where to stock up on firewood (which, incidentally, you should already have). Couldn’t hurt to have a dictionary and a phone book too, since you might actually need to look up a word or address.
2. Try getting some of your news offline. Subscribe to the newspaper or even listen to the radio. The point is to stop relying so much on the Internet for EVERYTHING. And as you might have heard, half of what you read online isn’t true anyway.
3. Be social. For real. Social media is great, especially when friends and family live far away. But there is simply no substitute for actual human interaction. Like without a computer. Go out to eat. Sit and play games. Fly a kite. Talk. This is especially important for your own family. How many times do you sit in the same room with your spouse and kids, with nobody talking because you’re all on some device? How’s that for family togetherness? Practice being together without the Internet. You might actually have fun, and when and if that dreaded day of disconnect comes, you’ll still know how to have fun the old fashioned way.
4. Balance your checkbook. You can still use your debit card, but write down your expenses and keep an eye on your balance without looking it up online. If the Internet isn’t available, you’re going to have to know how to do this to avoid going into overdraft and paying those unpleasant fees.
5. Unplug regularly. Whether you put away all devices for certain hours, take a day away from the Internet once a week, or use some other method, try doing an Internet detox now and then, and have your family do the same. Let them get used to real life again.
Hopefully, we will never know how crazy things could get without our precious connectivity. But sooner or later, for some amount of time, the Internet is bound to be inaccessible. Imagine the hoards of miserable, edgy, Internet-addicted people who don’t know how to get by without it. Learning to enjoy life unplugged right now can help you keep from losing your mind when the time comes.