I’m one of those people who’s slowly started to hate technology and the intrusive way it seeps into every aspect of our lives. It’s ironic, considering I work online and have worked with tech for some 30 years, but maybe that’s why I am starting to hate tech.
To me tech is a tool, no different to a saw, hammer or wrench. I have no problem with people using saws, hammers or wrenches because they don’t tend to use them at the dinner table or while watching TV or worse. However many don’t view tech as a tool it’s a total lifestyle, I see people so obsessed with checking this and watching that, staring at a screen for many hours a day and I worry.
A super massive tool box obsession
Constant use and dependence on tech tools, connectivity and the small screen makes me asks a lot of questions about an individuals state of mind, character and personality in general. Let’s face it most would call me a little crazy if I carried a tool box around with me everywhere I went. Not to mention pulling out an encyclopaedia, catalogue, writing a letter, playing a solo game of snakes and ladders, or worse spontaneously taking out a spanner at the dinner table to check the tightness of the legs. Next as if by magic a friend or associate from goodness knows where appears sat next to me on the sofa … crazy.
However today it’s what people accept as normal, they carry around this super massive box of tools around in their pocket or bag. It contains a sack full of ‘friends’ along for the ride, an encyclopedia, a whole shopping mall of stores, not to mention a whole array of other apps, games and gadgets. PLUS and worryingly they can take your picture or video you while you aren’t aware and show it to millions! Put like this and compared to the past … it’s shear madness! But today we call it NORMAL!
Not so much a Luddite maybe the new breed
Call me a Luddite if you like but I’m also one of those people who remembers the good old days prior to technology being an omnipresent force in everyone’s life. People seemed more connected to reality, more connected as human beings, life seemed much more real somehow. Some may scream “time has moved on, this is the new normal, you’re in a minority”. Hmm maybe but it seems I am part of a growing band of people who want a digital detox or even better a digital free life. In 2016 Ofcom claimed that 15 million people already have undertaken a digital detox to get a healthier balance to their lives, seems like I’m not so alone then. Furthermore 11% have ditched tech for a week or more, now what a dreamy thought.
Also in 2016 The Guardian picked up on the Ofcom report and pointed out that UK adults are now averaging 25 hours a week online! 59% stating they are hooked and three quarters saying the internet is important to their daily lives. One in ten access the internet over 50 times a day with 26% stating they have made non urgent communications by text or instant messaging while they’re supposed to be enjoying time with family, partner or friends.
Sharing our lives, frying our brains and relationships.
We’re all effectively sharing our lives and personal time now with many other people at the same time, we’re never unplugged. The phone can ring, a message can come through etc, people compelled to check statuses, worried about missing this or that, switching off is often an abhorrent concept to many. The paradox is that in some way modern communications brings us closer together, yet at the same time drives us apart. People visit less and shy away from speaking face to face more now than they ever did. Given that 70% of communication is non verbal, aren’t we as humans frying our brains, destroying our skills in real communication and in turn missing out on real quality time with the real human beings we say mean the most to us?
In a recent study by The Institute of Family Studies 62% of a women sampled stated that technology interferes with their leisure time with their partner. 25% said their partner actively texts other people during the couple’s face-to-face conversations. Back in 2013 CNN reported on a study carried out by Essex University, it stated “people who engaged in personal discussions when a cell phone was nearby — even if neither was actually using it — reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner. They also felt their partner was less empathetic to their concerns.”
The answer is digital detox and learning digital balance
The tsunami of digital communication has brought many benefits yes, but many downsides also. The speed of tech development has sent my mind in spin and I’ve worked with and been exposed to it since the 70’s and 80’s. So if I find it tough to cope then surely many others will sooner rather than later be struggling too. The millennium babies, should be the generation who can cope the best as they grew up on mobile tech, social media and the like, but interestingly it’s this generation that leads the way with the digital detox and digital balance revolution. Trends such as phone stacking are hugely popular among 16-25 year olds, this is where everyone switches off their phones and stacks them in the middle of the dinner table. It enables true conversation and uninterrupted human interaction whilst enjoying a meal together.
Digital Detox retreats are now something people are starting to enjoy, this type of retreat often includes Yoga, balanced vegetarian food, time for reflection, group work and relaxation therapies. Some pubs (what’s left of them) are installing signal blocking technology to provide a digital detox venue for those who want a real life uninterrupted drink.
Six tips to get you started
Here are six tips you can take advantage to instantly digitally detox your life
- Switch to a dumb phone – no internet more battery life.
- Pick up the phone and talk – it’s good to talk
- Get rid of notification bubbles and flashing led’s
- Clean down your email notifications – leave email fro email not statue update emails from goodness knows where and unsubscribe to mailing lists.
- Charge your phone in another room at bed time.
- Get an old fashioned clock radio or alarm clock – no phone by the bed no temptation
Still stuck? There’s a host of resources online free of charge, if you still need some extra help you can take a look at Amazon’s Digital and general Detox products
If you are still lacking inspiration, try this. Time is the greatest commodity we’ll ever have, if you look at your screen for 25 hours a week for 365 days you’ll effectively wasted 54 full days per year looking at a screen, pushing buttons, checking in, playing games. Do this for 10 years and say good bye to a whole 1.5 years of your life. If you call that living then hey it takes all sorts to make a world, for me I’d rather spend 1.5 years out of 10 enjoying real life rather than a virtual life.