Remember the ’80s and ’90s? Technology hadn’t quite taken over the world. It didn’t significantly affect relationships very much. You didn’t panic over leaving a tiny box, that contained your entire virtual life, at the register. We were a bit more productive and creative. Binging referred to food, not Netflix. Shows weren’t on-demand at your fingertips, tempting you to waste hours in front of a screen. People’s personal business wasn’t plastered on a pixel wall and no one cared what their food looked like.
Technology may be holding us back in some ways
I was still young in the ’90s, but I remember technology didn’t play a huge role in my family’s daily life. The best part was that people didn’t expect you to be on-call 24/7 like they do nowadays. Phones weren’t attached to us and life was about making memories, not reposting old memories on our timeline. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is my opinion, however, that technology has significantly held us back from living each day to the fullest. That is why I’m breaking up with technology. As an INFJ, door-slamming technology would be the natural thing to do. A swift clean break is not as easy as I thought though. At least, not when it comes to the internet. People, however, are a different story. But my phone is not a toxic friendship. It’s a mostly reliable sidekick who almost always has the answers you seek.
A slow and gentle break
Back in September, I turned my phone off for the weekend to focus on celebrating my husband’s and my wedding anniversary. It was blissful. I felt like I had put down a heavyweight that I’d been carrying around. I wasn’t worried about having to respond to texts or Facebook. After that weekend I decided to start letting technology down slowly. It was time to break-up with my phone. It started with minimizing my Facebook friends list. If you ask most people, they’ll say that they use social media to stay in touch with friends and family who don’t live close by. Well, that’s exactly what I decided to do. I removed everyone except my friends and family who lived far away. You know what happened next? Aside from pissing off some people, my news feed when from 70mph to 5mph like it saw a State Trooper. I noticed that when the posts slowed down, so did I.
Technology can negatively impact mental and physical health
Most of us have at least one or two apps that are time-sucks. Sometimes we try to delete them to refrain from mindlessly scrolling. It works for a while and then the app eventually winds up on your home screen again. Social media is like your favorite less-than-healthy treat. A little now and then is fine but consuming it every day can lead to health risks. This article discusses how technology, especially social media apps, may negatively impacting people’s mental health. Check out this article on how social media can be addictive and cause anxiety and depression.
People rarely give up something just because it’s bad for them though. They want to know what benefits they’ll reap if they forgo their not-so-healthy habit. I don’t need studies to tell you how helpful it is to put a lot of distance between you and social media. However, this study explains how technology can affect your eyesight. This study on Trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis in young patients advises avoiding overuse of cellphones. For many people, it may improve your mood. Now, I know during 2020, everyone is online. It SEEMED like the only way to be part of humanity but it’s really not. It was just the most convenient and “safest” way to communicate with people. We could just as easily continue social lives the “old school” way through phone calls and writing letters,
instead of scrolling and ‘liking’ people’s posts.
Limiting my use of technology
My personal experience from my break-up with technology includes but isn’t limited to: more time with my family, better focus on my family, I’m a better teacher to my kids, more time to read books from my miniature library, and my overall mental health has improved. I am to the point where I leave my phone turned off unless I need to run errands. Yes, you read that correctly. My phone is turned off most of the time. Especially when I’m trying to teach my kids. I’m seriously considering trading my smartphone for a basic flip-phone just in case I have an emergency.
Don’t misunderstand me though. I’m not saying that technology is evil and the internet is the devil. Obviously, we need technology for necessary tasks like school and work. I need the internet to publish this article. What I am saying is that we may benefit from treating technology as a tool not a lifeline and putting some distance between us and social media. I’ll end this article with a challenge! If you’re able, go a full 24 hours without technology. Would it be easy or difficult? Take note of your productivity. How much did you accomplish? I hope this post inspires you to step out into the real world more often.