Do you find yourself sleeping with your phone next to your bed? Or checking your facebook/twitter account more than once an hour? How about playing games on your phone (I know I am truly guilty of this one…I am pretty much a words with friends junkie)? If you have answered yes to all of the above questions, you may feel like this is good because technology has made it so easy for us to be connected. However, by immersing yourself into technology, you may be losing human to human contact and becoming a smartphone zombie.
I went to Boston on Monday for a concert. As I was walking around the city, I almost got run in to several times from people that were mesmerized with their phone and not watching where they were going, but it’s ok because they didn’t even notice. I have always been a people watcher since I was a little girl. I remember going to restaurants at a very young age and standing up on the booth to look at the people at the table behind us. If it were socially acceptable now, I would still do that, but I don’t think that would fly as a grown woman. We went to a restaurant in the North End of Boston. I have been able to become more subtle with my people watching (I hope I have). At least one person at a time was looking at their phone during the meal.
I have also noticed on other dining out ventures when there is a couple at a table and one of them is completely engrossed in the phone, maybe answering a few questions here and there or peeking up at the waiter to say what they are going to order. How romantic! I have also had houseguests who spend the entire duration of the visit with their face in their phone. This is becoming the norm in our society. We just can’t seem to help ourselves and the sad part is it seems like we are so “plugged in” we don’t even notice.
I have had a tumultuous relationship with facebook in particular. At the beginning it was so exciting to find all of these people that I knew and high school and college or someone I met at a social gathering…once. Wow! I had so many “friends”. I must be something special. Then I realized that I was spending a lot of my time scrolling through my newsfeed. Why do I need to know what other people are doing/saying/feeling/thinking? Has this really brought me closer to the people that are in my life? Then I ask myself, what is it that I am avoiding?
So I started to do what I call a facebook detox. This is when you take a deep breath, go to your account settings, and hit the deactivate button. You don’t have to do it forever. If you are really plugged in, you can try it for one day. What will happen if the world doesn’t see your every intimate detail? Do you really want to know? Nothing. Nothing will happen. You may discover the outdoors, realize there are people in your life that will actually call you and want to spend time with you. You may notice your children. They are there and they like it when your face is not in your phone. This was a pretty awesome discovery for me personally. When I shut my account off I am not focusing on anything else but the time spent with them and they LOVE it. Each time I do my detox, I try to increase the time spent away from it. The last detox was three weeks. This time I am shooting for 2 months.
I have some exceptions to the detox. I still have to run my business and I realize that I need to still post on my business page, so I have a dummy facebook account that I only use to manage my business page. The whole point is to just take a step back and look at how much time you have invested in posting on social media or reading it and what it really means to you.
The more time we spend plugged in to our “devices”, the less time we are spending on self discovery and developing healthy relationships. There is a false sense of trust and vulnerability and we end up walking around like a zombie and getting away from working at a real connection with others. Out of the 600 “friends” you have, how many of them spend physical time with you? There is a significant increase in anxiety and depression in our society and there are several studies being done to figure out the connection with social media and multitasking. Here is just one article that shows a recent study. I just visited my eye doctor today and he said there are a lot more eye problems to to the increase in the smartphone zombie population.
Living in the moment is something that most people strive for. It is an amazing thing to just be and I fear that with all of the distractions of social media that we are losing the ability to develop healthy relationships, not only with others, but with ourselves. So I invite you to be a rebel and try “unplugging” for a while. Feel free to share your experience. Here is another great article about taking a break.