I’m never shy to admit that I am extremely dependent on technology. I’ve been learning the ins and outs of Windows ‘98 since I was about 10, teaching myself basic HTML and CSS coding when I was 12 so I could make pretty layouts for my Neopets guild page, getting my first cell phone at 14 and my first tablet when I was 20. And here I am on my laptop with my iPhone next to me, and my Kindle Fire next to that. Even while I’m sitting here typing this I have the urge to grab my iPhone and check to make sure I didn’t miss an alert or to check Facebook because it’s less hassle than it would be to switch between a browser and Word on my computer.
The thing is I don’t even like Facebook anymore, yet I continue to read it. It’s like I’m addicted to the pointless information being fed to me. My phone, my computer, even my tablet all have this telekinetic pull on me that makes me want to look at them even when I don’t want to. I don’t need to know how Jane is doing this afternoon, or what new trick her cat learned yesterday – but I check anyway!
Let’s face it: anything really important that directly relates to us would come to us in the form of a phone call. Even though we might be socially insensitive to a lot of things, most of us know that if there’s an emergency going on you don’t text, you call. When it comes to news and media you can check it every few hours and still be relatively well-informed about the world. But the way technology is now - the way it has slowly catered to our thirst for constant knowledge - is sort of frightening at how easily it can take the importance out of it all, because deep down inside when I reach for my phone in my pocket I know whatever message I might have missed in those few moments I wasn’t paying attention will have a very low chance of actually being that important. But I check it anyway, just to make sure.
It kind of goes back my article I wrote a while ago about being addicted to our phones. Only recently am I realizing just how dependent I am compared to people like my own parents. My mom will constantly forget her phone at home, or even if she does happen to remember it she’ll forget to turn it on. I remember when she would leave it at home and she would come back I’d ask her “Well why didn’t you turn around to come get it once you noticed it was missing?!” “Well it’s not that important.” Are you crazy mom?! Of course it’s important! If I drove 500 miles and realized I’d left my phone I’d turn right back around to go get it. Of course I would never be able to go more than 15 miles before I realized I was missing my phone, but that’s beside the point. The point is my phone is a priority in my life and I’m kind of ashamed to say it. Come to think of it my mom was not that crazy, but I kind of am.
About a month ago (maybe two months? I don’t know, I lose track of time if my phone doesn’t tell me) I turned off my phone for a full day. Just turned it off cold turkey. It was refreshing and I felt like I got a lot accomplished using the time I normally spend checking my phone. It’s funny because even if you think you’re going to just “check your phone for a couple of things” before you know it it’s been 20 minutes and you just keep finding more things to do, and that time really adds up. I actually ran out of things to do, and there were several points during the day where I was determined to not turn back on my word. I promised I wouldn’t turn it on for the 24 hours and I didn’t, but it was very hard. While a digital cleanse might be necessary every once in a while, unless I’m absolutely forced to I probably won’t be able to ever permanently go back to how simple technology used to be for me.
The only way I can think to describe the back-and-forth feelings I have for techonlogy is just being overwhelmed sometimes.
Tinkering with phones and spending a good portion of time on the computer reading about phones and technology is no longer just a hobby of mine; it’s a lifestyle. I mean, it’s my job. I have a love/hate relationship with technology because I love it so much but I know that sometimes it becomes a problem with how much I spend and depend on it. Slowly I’m coming to terms with this and honestly I just need to find that balance. I don’t really have a need for two tablets and two computers and at least three cell phones at my disposal. It’s just too much for me. I think it’s time to start disconnecting – even if just for an extra hour or two out of the day to keep my sanity.
Readers, do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by technology sometimes? Have you ever “disconnected” for a day or a prolonged period of time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Image via Android Central