Unplugging From the Smartphone, Media, & Technology

*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:

XO Jane’s I Switched from a Smartphone to a Dumbphone and I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Go Back (2016)

Becoming Minimalist’s 7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space (2016)

Huffington Post’s What Are the Health Benefits of Unplugging? (2016)

The New Yorker’s THE POINTLESSNESS OF UNPLUGGING (2014)

This YouTube video: I Forgot My Phone (2013)

You can also take part in The National Day of Unplugging

 

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10 thoughts on “Unplugging From the Smartphone, Media, & Technology

  1. Very interesting post! This is one of my biggest concerns as of late… How is social media and my smartphone taking me away from the positives in life? About a month ago, I accidentally deleted Instagram and it could be one of the most serendipitous events in recent history… I realized that I don’t need it or benefit from having it as much as I thought I did. I’m rambling, but I absolutely love this post! Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, thanks for sharing! I’m always happy to hear other’s experiences. I’m glad that you found you don’t ‘need’ it. And I think this topic may be around for awhile. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you and think that this topic is going to become really important in the years to come. I kind of wonder if this isn’t exactly what is implied by a zombie apocalypse actually. Well, that’s a scary thought… Anyway! Thanks again for writing such a thought-provoking post!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love this post Nicole. I mean, probably one of my favorites.

    I keep my phone on me when I’m not at home, since I have a 12 year old and I like the school to be able to reach me, or if I need to call someone for something. When I’m home though, that’s a different story. My phone stays on vibrate, pretty much all the time, and I frequently leave it in another room and forget about it for hours (likely from the moment I get home, until the moment I go to bed). This drives my mother insane, because I don’t have a landline so she’s unable to get in touch with me (bonus!). However, I love it. Maybe I have my computer on, to casually work on a blog post or comment, but mostly I’m unplugged and listening to my husband or watching tv with my daughter before bed. Having dinner.

    Facebook and social media is another beast altogether. Personally, I hate Facebook. I feel like it’s become a hub of negativity and I frequently think about deleting my account. Those pesky friends I don’t get to see, and getting a peek into their lives (or family I don’t see often getting a peek into mine) is what keeps me connected. I far prefer friendlier places like Instagram, and even then I check it maybe once or twice a day, just a quick scroll through.

    I find that, these days, I’m far more involved in visiting other blogs than any social networks. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing! And I absolutely agree about Facebook, it seems to have declined into being only place to share negativity – whether people realize that or not. I prefer Instagram as well. I also seem to spend more time perusing blogs and even Goodreads. :)

      Like

  3. Fourteen years when I began teaching there were no cell phones and only a handful of students owned a family computer. With the increase in technology I’ve seen a decrease in academic motivation. I think social media is one of the worst influences on our youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unplugging is definitely something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t done yet probably because I keep getting sucked into social media. I realise how long I just scroll through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and the majority if not all of that time is such a waste, it doesn’t really add anything. I’ve been reading a lot of books about being mindful and meditating and I thing being able to unplug more well really help me focus more on the important things. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same! That’s great to hear! I will definitely be actively looking for more ways to unplug, even it’s just for a few hours here and there. Thanks for sharing :)

      Like

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