Think of the last crowded event, gorgeous sunset or poignant moment you experienced. What was it like?
Now think again: Were you really in the moment, or were you too concerned with capturing and documenting it for later to truly experience it? Maybe you were too overcome with the thought of how many likes, shares, retweets, etc. your post or photo could get to really just be.
This happens all too often, in my opinion. The very devices that keep us close with faraway relatives, friends across the globe and that bring people together can be the same pieces of technology that prevent us from the true, real human experience of day-to-day life.
And it doesn’t stop with projecting ourselves on personal social media accounts — it bleeds profusely into most workplaces. Now you’re not only expected to do your job during normal work hours until your shift is over. You’re not only encouraged but expected to stay constantly connected through emails and text messages. Forget leaving work at work — when you get home to cook dinner, play with your kids or unwind, you swipe through emails because you wouldn’t want to miss a beat.
At 22, my personal opinion is that this is not only inconvenient … it’s toxic.
Specifically, teens’ dependency on mobile devices has been making headlines the past couple of days following a new study claiming that 50 percent (HALF! Seriously?) of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices, while 59 percent of parents thought their teens were addicted. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit aiming to help teachers, parents and their children navigate media and technology, conducted the poll that involved 1,240 interviews with parents and their children, ages 12 to 18, according to CNN.
But the thing is, the parents are just as bad. Nothing is worse than seeing a family having a meal at a restaurant in which both parents are glued to their phones. What is so important? Never mind the very real threat of health effects — this moment will never come around again and you’re wasting it away with work emails, pointless Facebook updates and Snapchat stories.
This is a relatively new effort for me, but I’ve been actively trying to disconnect in order to reconnect with real life and truly live in the moment like so many of us aim to.
Some days are better than others, but I can effectively stay off social media for several days. Some days (especially on weekends), I’ll leave my phone at home when I step out to run errands or visit someone. I try and make it a rule that if I’m spending time with someone, nothing is important enough to whip out my phone. What’s the point?
And when I leave work, I stop checking my work phone (insert shocked face here).
Without that constant urge to check and update and scroll suctioned to your hand, you’re able to look up, see the world around you and really just finally be.
My point here? Just let go. Power down the computers and tablets, shut off your phone and leave it in your car. The missed calls, messages and news feeds will be there when you return. Get out there and see, live and just be. You won’t regret it, I promise.
What’s your stance? Do you ever go on a cellphone or social media diet? Are you trying to disconnect? Let SHEables know in the comments!