Sometimes I think that we all need a technology detox to realize just how dependent we are on our cellphones. Rather than seeing things with our own eyes and creating memories in our brains, we seem to prefer to capture events through our camera lens and store the memories on our phones. It is sad to think that rather than enjoying concerts with our own eyes and ears, we are recording them on our phones to replay later and share with friends and family.
In today’s world, we love to take pictures of food (me included)… but why? Instead of taking note of the restaurants surroundings or how great it tasted, we take pictures of our food from every angle.
Take one bite… snap a pic.
While technology has numerous benefits, many that I use on a daily basis, it is also occupying so much of our time and energy. It is frustrating to walk around and see people staring at their phone screens, nearly walking into others because they are unaware of their surroundings. Imagine missing your child take their first step because you were too preoccupied with your cell phone. I am sure whatever game you are playing or social media app you are using, it is not more important than your child’s greatest milestones.
I have come to notice that one of the biggest problems is an entire group of people, all using their phones, rather than communicating with each other and enjoying their company. I wish that there were some kind of punishment for using your phone at the dinner table, or while you are spending time with friends and family. I have found myself reaching for my own phone because the people that I am sitting with are all on their phones.
In 2010, the New York Times reported that kids are spending up to 8 hours online. 8 HOURS! Imagine how many things these kids are missing in that time. Think of how much you could learn in that time.
If you spent 8 hours a day online, that would be 56 hours a week and 2,912 hours a year.
That time could be spent doing a number of different things. And we wonder why our country is overweight and our children are experiencing worse eyesight….
There are so many things that you can gather from just talking to a stranger or simply just people watching.
On a recent airplane ride, a teammate of mine made a contact with a guy sitting next to us for an internship this summer. On another plane ride, I talked to two ladies sitting next to me. When I got frustrated with my 2048 game, I put my phone down and was able to have the opportunity to learn about the women that sat next to me. There is so much that can be learned from just talking to others about their lives, cultures, careers and more. Had I continued to play my game or stare at my cellphone screen, these opportunities would have been missed.
It frustrates me the most that people would rather be communicating with others through texting and social media while being surrounded by other friends. When I am with someone in person, I want to be talking to him or her, laughing with them and enjoying their presence. I don’t think that any text message is more important than making real life connections and memories.
From my experience traveling abroad, I have always done so without a cellphone. For as long as two weeks, I have gone without contact with the outside world. I believe that I gained so much more from these experiences because I was able to see things with my own eyes, I was not worried about who was texting me back and what is new on my Twitter feed. Trust me, I didn’t miss anything important in this time.
When I turned my phone back on, the texts were still waiting for me; along with the tweets, pictures, statuses and more. While on vacation, however, I took in every single sound and sight that surrounded me. I do not think that traveling abroad should be your excuse to put your phone down but I do think that it put things into perspective for me. There are so many sights and experiences around us everyday that we may not be noticing because we are so wrapped up in the virtual world.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Twitter, Instagram and texting just as much as any one else, but I think there is a time and place for them. Putting your phone down for just an hour, or powering it off while you study is something that many people find hard to do. They feel disconnected and bored.
I challenge you to try to put your phone down for just an hour a day, longer if you can! I also challenge you to put your phone down while you eat and spend time with friends and family. Ask questions and listen to their stories! Take note of the things that surround you, the people that you meet and the memories that you make. There are so many things that we are missing out on because we are starring at our phone screens!