Did you miss me? It’s been a while, right? Well here’s why! I’ve been doing some prep for this blog post about our ridiculous obsessions with our tech! So, here goes.
How many of you have been sitting there, looking at Facebook only to type “facebook” in your search bar……… just me? I know you others are out there. I don’t even do anything on Facebook other than look at videos of dogs to be perfectly honest yet here I am, leaving it open on my desktop for some reason unbeknownst to me, wait… I 100% know the reason, digital addiction. This issue is far spread in our highly technological world, some people carry 2 phones with them, some people travel with laptops+tablets+phones, backpacks are starting to have built in battery packs – we’re basically becoming robots but hey, this is what we wanted right? I’m not sure about you but I’m not looking forward to the Wall-E esque future that is laying ahead of us if we keep on this path of staring at our phones and constantly being plugged in. Our world is becoming so entrapped and entangled by technology. It’s becoming hard to distinguish reality from cyberspace (sounds a bit like Ready Player One).
Did you know that…
- The average person checks their phone 200 times a day, that’s once every 6.5 minutes
- One in four people spend more time online than they do asleep
- 70% of 16-24-year-olds say they prefer texting to talking
- The average teenager sends 3,400 electronic messages a month from their bed
Isn’t that wild? People check their phones TWO HUNDRED times a day! We stare at screens more than we sleep! (Throwback to when I wrote about how bad that is for you.) People get stressed out when they’ve forgotten their phones at home or their precious mobile device is holding a charge of less than 15% and they’ve got hours until they find an outlet. There is even a term for the fear of not having your phone with you now, nomophobia! FoMo (fear of miss out), FoBo (fear of being offline), NoMo (no mobile)… nomophobia. I think we can all agree this is getting out of hand. With this trend, it seems like people are just becoming more and more attached to their devices and less attached to their immediate surrounds. Thankfully, there seems to be a trend of cafes that are trying to get people to engage a bit more with each other, saying their establishments are a no-wifi zone and that people should talk to each other.
I know we all keep saying that sitting is the new smoking but can I make a different proposition? I think technology and social media is the new smoking. When I correlate these two things I mean that it’s something that we all know has negative side effects yet we find ourselves completely addicted to. Some people may experience greater effects than others, some people become addicted, some don’t, and some people can develop long-term problems (ie mental health issues) from over usage. Sounds pretty similar to smoking to me! There is no way around the truth of the matter, social media leads to increased depression in the youth of today due to the weird weight we have placed on “likes,” we see other people doing cool things and wonder why we never do cool things leading to vicious cycles of jealousy and FoMo (people only post what they want you to see, that’s the beauty of social media personas, it’s complete curated), people hold weird attachments to their number of friends/followers and somehow equate this digital value to their actual value of popularity… the list goes on and on. Social media is NOT social. Yes, it gives us the opportunity to keep up with people we would have otherwise lost contact with, it let’s us stay up to date and see things and places we might not have otherwise ever seen, but at what cost? (Forbes)
So what can we do about this? Digital detox! Now now, I know that sounds insane – who will catch all those Pokemon for you? Becky is going to be sooo mad that you didn’t like each of her posts on Facebook and Instagram over the time you were MIA. Oh no! S T O P. Didn’t that sound ridiculous? Who cares if you like all of their photos? Maybe you only scrolled for like 3 swipes and you didn’t see someone’s thing, OH-EM-GEE nooOOOoOoOoo, it’s the end of the world, end of friendship… if that’s what’s holding your friendship together there are a lot of other problems that maybe I will address another time.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “how can I possible go 72 hours without checking my phone?!” Trust me, you can, AND you’ll come back feeling GREAT. In preparation for writing this I decided to a modified digital detox for the Labor Day weekend and then implemented a method to decrease my dependency on my phone and other social media outlets while making sure I was still staying on task with my work obligations and studies for the following 2 weeks. I completely understand that we are not all fiscally capable of just removing ourselves for potentially even 24 hours, I work remotely for a lot of my work and I had to really be strategic about figuring out how to go about this experiment. I’m not saying you have to completely purge your life of all technology because that won’t help you, you’d be far more likely to relapse that way. Some people go to digital detox camps where they are in nature and doing yoga, near water, etc without technology and while I would love to have that experience I recognize that I do not currently have the (a) time or (b) money to just spend on hiding my technology from myself.
So how do you start? Be realistic. For many, 72 hours is an unrealistic goal. That’s understandable. Maybe you can go one day, maybe you just cut out half a day, maybe you just cut out certain things, anything is better than checking your phone 200 times a day. I knew it would be impossible for me to not check my phone at all because of my work obligations so rather than locking up all my technology I allotted two separate times during the day, for an hour each, to check emails and answer phone calls. For the rest of the time I was just reading or enjoying staying at my friend’s lake house. For the following week I decreased my phone time by putting my phone on “silent” during the day and therefore wasn’t constantly notified to check at each message. I couldn’t necessarily cut out looking at a computer while physically at work or in class but I was about to just stop myself from constantly signing into social media sites (if you struggle with preventing yourself from doing this, you can download software such as SelfControl which blocks different websites for a set amount of time). What can you do at home? With your family or roommates, you can make common time (ie meals, hanging out) a no tech zone so that you have to interact with each other. Also, make sure none of your tech is near your bed! This makes a huge difference in usage in the late hours of the night before going to bed. Just implementing these small things we can decrease our dependency and increase our technological freedom!
So what are my takeaways?
- be realistic while setting restrictions to create habits
- make small changes to your technology/social media usage
- try to take a day off, if possible
- no tech near the bed
- talk to others
- find someone to detox with you
- just leave your tech at home
Your phone doesn’t define you! Social media is not real life. Try not to check your phone 200 times a day. Digital detox with me, you’ll be glad you did.