*This post is mainly my own opinion and thoughts. Anytime I use the words we, us, you, etc. I use them loosely.
I don’t mean detach forever, but more to not let yourself become overly attached as I’m sure many of us do and without realizing it.
I initially started thinking about this popular, and yes possibly over-hashed, topic when I read this interesting Quartz article, Cognitive science suggests the way we use smartphones is making us feel powerless written by Vivian Giang. This article focuses more on the physical results of cell phone use: people become more slouched creating a downward slope of the neck and back.
This posture is [known as] a powerless position, and can increase cortisol and decrease testosterone.
Based on the article, it seems that this powerless position has more negative outcomes; people are more likely to think negatively leading to mores tress and possible depression. I’m not sure if this means that everyone will go down this kind of road, but I also think that our behaviors on our phone can be related as well. As you may know, I recently finished reading the novel The Circle by Dave Eggers (link to my review). While fiction, I believe it has a good message about what the impact of fully connecting our lives digitally and how much time we devote to our digital life over our real life.
‘And worse, you’re not doing anything interesting anymore. You’re not seeing anything, saying anything. The weird paradox is that you think you’re at the center of things, and that makes your opinions more valuable, but you yourself are becoming less vibrant. I bet you haven’t done anything offscreen in months. Have you?’ – The Circle
I think this is one of quotes that really struck me. We spend all this time on our phones and on the internet commenting and liking and sharing yet we aren’t actually doing anything. Sure, plenty of us go out and do something fun, but one of the first things we do is take a picture and post it and eagerly wait for all the likes, etc to come in or we simply tweet or post what we’re doing. Because, you know, everyone actually cares what you’re doing and how you feel about it.
Honestly? I don’t think a lot people actually care. I know that’s harsh and mean, but it seems that people feel like they have to post about their lives to show people that their life is great, their relationship or friendship is perfect, etc. I think people just want to know, which doesn’t always equate to truly caring. I’m sure some people would easily turn around and judge someone based on any number of factors. This has created a culture of constantly comparing ourselves to others which doesn’t really end up having great end results in my opinion.
Another draw back to having all these sources at our fingertips is that we never give ourselves time to destress. I found this 2015 Greatest article, Why Everyone Should Unplug More Often by Sophia Breene that gives research based reasons why we need to unplug.
Scheduling regular “rest time” in the form of unplugging makes sense—like a muscle, the brain needs recovery time in order to develop and grow (and in this case, retain new memories).
The article goes on to point out that even just taking a short walk sans phone can help your brain reboot. The article also talks about a research study that had a large group of students go on a 24-hour media fast and then describe their experience afterwards. Many wrote about how they felt bored, disconnected, and anxious.
This is the part where I would jump in and ask: What the hell did you do that whole time? Did you just sit on the couch all the time? Why didn’t you go outside or I don’t know, read a book?!
The idea of detaching and unplugging is a fad that seems to come and go. Remember the time where a Facebook friend would warn you that they’re deactivating their FB for awhile? I will admit that I did myself a few times. The majority of those times was because I was in college and had studies to focus on. My most recent time was actually in October of 2014 and I even wrote a post about it: Facebook “Cleanse”.
I did end up following my mother’s advice and deleting the FB app from my phone. And you know what? I stopped caring about Facebook and I’m really glad that I did because I realized that FB is just a sharing platform of opinions which then sparks embarrassing debates that everyone can see.
I like the idea behind social media – it’s a place to connect with people you already know as well as a place to ‘meet’ new people. But like anything, I think it’s best used in moderation.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Have you been able to unplug? Or do you find yourself needing to?
Interesting related articles I found:
This YouTube video: I Forgot My Phone (2013)
You can also take part in The National Day of Unplugging