Student gives up Facebook for Lent

Courtney Turner, sophomore in AHS, gave up Facebook for the forty days and forty nights of lent Thursday, as displayed in this portrait illustration. ME Online

Courtney Turner, sophomore in AHS, gave up Facebook for the forty days and forty nights of lent Thursday, as displayed in this portrait illustration. ME Online

By Michael Logli

The Lenten season is one of remembrance and piety. But while some students choose to give up things like chocolate or videogames, others choose to give up practicing one of the most recent and popular trends of the day: Facebook stalking.

Starting Wednesday Feb. 21, the Catholic world began their Lenten season, lasting 40 days and nights. Though some may consider this a time of suffering, for former Facebook addict Courtney Turner, the experience has been liberating.

“The account is gone,” said Turner, sophomore in AHS. “It took over my life, but now I can spend my time doing other things.”

Turner joined the Facebook community to keep in contact with her friends, but after spending hours searching through photos and reading walls, she began to realize her problem.

“I just randomly heard about (Facebook) and wanted to see what it was about,” Turner said. “Then I got addicted.”

Giving up something like online networking may not seem like a worthy sacrifice, but Lent is not always about heavy, life-changing sacrifices, said Father Brian Brownsey, director of vocations at the Diocese of Peoria.

“During Lent, any kind of sacrifice you make is a good thing, but some people aren’t giving something up, they’re trying something new,” Brownsey said. “It can be a positive thing.”

Lent is about remembering the resurrection and life of Jesus, said Brownsey. And whether it is walking around with rocks in your shoes, sleeping on the floor or deciding to call your mother more often, it is important to remember what the season is about.

“Lent is a reminder that calls us back into focus,” Brownsey said. “If I can go 40 days giving up something that’s not harmful, I might be a little bit stronger.”

Father Tom Holloway, assistant chaplain of the Newman Center, agrees that the point of Lent is to make a person stronger.

He also understands why students would want to give up Facebook.

Although not an addict himself, Holloway has a Facebook account and he believes it is a great communication tool.

“It’s the good twin to evil e-mail,” Holloway said.

“The point of Facebook is connections. People can just stop in and say ‘hi,’ and you know they’re thinking about you,” he added.

Turner has already taken advantage of her free time by studying, hanging out with her friends and getting in touch with her faith.

When Lent ends, Turner said she will not return to the Facebook community.

“I am not a member of any online cult,” Turner said.