The folks from the writing tool IA Writer (which I love) have an amazing blog post that gets a lot right about the current state of the web. They discuss the problems that are being widely reported and an alternate solution to taking a “digital sabbatical.”
Again, taking a break is generally good advice. And yes, there is Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is great. Alphabet sounds like a James Bond Villan and it is not harmless, but Google Search is powerful. And no, you can’t escape digital culture as long as you live in a society that lives on digital fuel. If you block email you’ll have trouble holding onto most jobs. If you have no cellphone people just won’t get in touch with you anymore. Who calls landlines these days? However long your digital Sabbatical, you will inevitably get sucked back in. And so will your kids.
Rather than completely breaking from the internet, they suggest you change your model of engagement.
But instead of protecting them from the evil Internet, teach them to read, write, draw, paint, ask and think. Teach them researching, blogging, FTP. The challenge when you are in is to not become passive. To change from consumer to maker, following to self-thinking, quoter to commentator, liker to publisher, but mostly, from getting angry about headlines of articles you haven’t read to reading precisely, asking questions, researching, fact-checking, thinking clearly and writing carefully.