by Maureen McKew

One of the great advantages of finding one’s news digitally is that it prevents newsprint ink from getting all over the hands, the clothes and the upholstery. In the days before digital delivery, I used to sit on the floor, away from pale carpets and white upholstered furniture, to read the papers. (Why someone with two cats would even think about having white upholstery is a tale for another time.)

I developed this floor habit in my childhood, when we had no fewer than seven newspapers a day in the house.  What can I say? We were afraid we might miss something.

So, there is one definite “plus” to digital delivery of the news: clean hands, carpet and furniture. However, there are some clear “minuses” – most notably, the comment sections of online publications, along with Facebook,Twitter, etc. Many people have quick trigger fingers and post before they think.  At least, I hope that’s the problem. It would be awful if people actually sat and planned some of those appalling messages.

Lent is upon us in a few days. We are all pondering what to give up. How about giving up or, at least, limiting our tweets and comments for the next 40 days? How about reducing the time we spend staring at screens, big and small?

Of course, I am asking a lot. Moreover, a lot of material that’s legitimate Lenten reading is online. Most of my books are on my iPad. How do I read, let’s say, the Bible, when Twitter is just a tap away and tempting me?  Maybe It would be a good idea to dust the bookcase and find the leather bound edition.

How long do you think you could abstain from grabbing that mobile device? For myself, I don’t know. But let’s give it a try.