If we look at the world around us nowadays, it seems that everyone has their head buried in their phones or other electronics. Even when conversations are happening, there is disengagement and interrupted focus every few seconds. We seem to be controlled by the buzzing and beeps of our devices. They can make us anxious, forget current tasks or keep us from sleep. Of course, technology has connected our world in ways that people only use to dream about. We use it as a way to escape and hide from the physical realm. This includes being on social media websites, posting, texting or playing games. The realization of this imprisonment of our devices is when we begin to become aware of our habits. Instead of worrying about when we can plug in next to our technology, we can make the switch to start unplugging and refocusing. This can take time, patience, and a little bit of extra fun in our lives.
On average, people check their phones 46 times per day (Times.com, 2015). This number is increased with the younger generation and decreased with the older generation. People seem to be checking their phones constantly and even use it as a way to look busy. Surveys show that 1 in 8 people fake using their cell phone to avoid talking to others (Healthland.time.com, 2011). Due to the impact technology has on society, has also lead people to rely on it to engage in behaviors they would not usually or rely on it for a confidence booster.
Self-esteem is something that is a very prevalent in the majority of peoples’ lives, especially from pre-teens to early twenties. Coincidentally, those are the ages that spend the most time on technology. All the way back to Myspace years ago to Facebook to Instagram and other social media sites, there has been a want for many friends and now, many likes. Likes have become a competition between friends and even strangers. With all of these comparisons being made daily, there are also many lies coming through the cracks as well. “75% admitted to lying about themselves on social profiles” (Nakedsecurity.sophos.com, 2016). We need to ask a few questions. Are people lying because they feel their lives are not good enough? Are they trying to make themselves feel better by creating a façade? These can be extremely hard questions for some and hit home for many.
Thankfully, there are ways to decrease the addictions of social media, simply being on our phones, and falling into the stereotypes of our society of lacking communication skills. When starting to unplug from technology, examine the amount of technology usage in your life. You can take it a step further by writing down the amount of time you spend on each device/social media per day. Seeing those numbers written down can make it more realistic of how much time is actually being spent. Then, look at what takes up most of the time and if it is adding value to your life. Depending on how extensive you want to make the challenge, you can choose a few options: limit use of apps/technology, delete apps that are taking up time/not adding value, eliminate all of the technology that is bringing in negative feelings or find alternative activities that are more fulfilling to replace the technology use. All of these are suggestions can be altered depending on your situation. The goal is to lessen stress, comparisons, distractions, and add more intention, purposeful relationships, fulfilling interactions, and activities that bring you true joy.