Have you ever taken the time to notice how much you use your cell phone or your laptop? Chances are you spend a good amount of your attention every day with your eyes glued to a screen. So what? It’s the 21st century, it’s innovative that we’re connected in every way. You can access anything or anyone, in ANY place (at ANY time)! Isn’t it fabulous? It can be blessing, but it’s also a curse of modernity…there is a danger in relying on technology as much as we do.
Through the connections we have to our gadgets, we are constantly pummeled with information, photos, calls, text messages, and status updates to the point of INFORMATION OVERLOAD! Seriously, count the ways you are connected. Even take a moment to count the minutes, and hours, you spend with your electronics per day. It might be safe to say that you may have a problem… we all do. Most of us are addicted to technology. It’s a 24/7 habit.
What are the implications of this addiction? We are rewiring our brains to have electronics think for us. This is robbing each one of us of our critical thinking and interpersonal skills that we would be utilizing if it weren’t for the easy out we get in the various forms of laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. One can’t truly unplug or relax when every level of communication comes through a tiny screen that fits in one’s palm. Countless moments are ruined when one person can’t put his or her phone down, and many conversations lose their intention and true meaning when expressed through a text or e-mail (or are interrupted by one). One might say that some of us don’t even know how to say what we want to say in a face-to-face conversation. Might as well just text it, right?
For some people, checking their phones or e-mails is compulsive. Every time an alert goes off, they reach to check out who might be needing their attention next. Sometimes there must be space to pay attention to oneself. Technology robs us of ever being able to really just be alone. Cultivating personal motivation to take care of oneself both physically and mentally requires moments of undivided self–attention. And no, your Iphone is not invited.
If you’re in need of some technology rehab, where do you even start? You could go cold turkey and totally unplug (we don’t recommend this), because seriously, things that change fast often don’t stay that way for long. Start with baby steps, leave your cell phone at home one day in the next week. Try it, how bad could it possibly be? You won’t lose any friends, we promise…but if you do, maybe you were just another nobody on their “Friend List.” You can also just go offline, maybe a few hours before bed and simply enjoy life without being plugged in. Or, take note of your average daily technology intake, and make an effort to cut back an hour or two a day (you decide). Spend your time enjoying the lost art of conversation, reading a book, or just being inside your own head.
So, what are we gaining by taking a break from our electronics? You can gain more time to think and reflect when you’re unplugged. This can help you have more clarity when it comes to decision-making, solving problems, and paying attention to your daily life. Constant connection to technology can be truly emotionally and intellectually draining. Letting go of a few hours you previously spent connected can help you make more progress in other areas of your life, like school, work, relationships, and even the future.
By now you’ve probably admitted that you’re addicted or at least far too dependent upon your gadgets. Unplug? You might be thinking that this is like losing a part of yourself! How will you go on? The trick is to become less dependent upon the “self” you’ve created electronically, and more aware of who you truly are…offline.
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