As I continue on my blogging journey, I find myself having the same debate with myself (yes, with myself) time and time again; is being on your phone a lot, really that bad?
I often think whether we are aware of how much time we spend on our devices. Are you reading this now on your phone or your iPad? Is there someone sitting next to you who you could be speaking to instead? Have you ever tried to stay off your phone? Put it to one side and not reach for it? You may call me sad, but I find this hard! In fact, when I started writing this blog, my phone had run out of battery and I left my charger in school, I couldn’t access anything on it; I did feel very lost without it, which I think is a bit sad. I felt a little bit disconnected from the world and not in touch with anyone but sometimes, isn’t that a good thing? Don’t we need some time when we can disconnect from the world and connect with ourselves, taking time to breathe or just be with our family?
Now, I’m not going to sit here, lie to you and lecture you on how you shouldn’t spend too much time on your phone because that, would be extremely hypocritical. Since I started blogging, it’s become a little addiction for me. I blog, I then tweet about my blog, change my status on Facebook so I can share my blog and put up a picture on Instagram about my blog and it doesn’t end there. I go onto my website, check how many visitors/likes/shares I’ve had, then I go onto Instagram to see if I’ve had likes, then Twitter, any retweets? This could go on forever. Like I said, it’s become a little addiction of mine – they say the first step is admitting it right? Hang on though, I am enjoying it. In fact, I love it. I absolutely love writing my blogs and if you haven’t already picked that up from previous blogs, there’s something wrong with you. I actually can’t describe in words (which isn’t good for a blogger, surely) how much I enjoy it. So, the fact that I’m on my phone/laptop so much for something I love, doesn’t that make it better? Then again, isn’t that what all addicts say? That they love it and don’t want to do without it?
Answer me this, how many electronic devices do you own? How often do you use them? How often do you make a conscious decision to put them to one side and live? Well, I’ll be honest, my computer, my phone and my camera are slowly becoming more and more integrated into my life and honestly, it scares the bejeebers (haha, I know this isn’t a word but I really wanted to use it) out of me. All I can keep thinking is what new app can I get, what computer would be best to have, what camera is the best to use and when can I get a new phone? Thinking about it now, how incredibly materialistic is that?
When I was younger, I remember we had one computer, in the computer room upstairs and we could only go on it with permission and we would have to take it in turns. These days kids (and adults actually) have a laptop each and probably an iPad or tablet too; they have access whenever and wherever they want. What this does mean is speaking to each other about simple things like how your day has been is now very rare and eating a meal as a family has become more of a chore for people because all they want to do is chat to their friends online or upload their pictures. This is what saddens me and maybe scares me a little. I have always wanted to bring up children as we were brought up; where we’d all eat together, we would speak about things and we would communicate. I mean, we were teenagers, so communication was minimal at times but it was there and I really do think it’s important.
I’m a big believer of making memories and cherishing your memories but if we’re constantly on our phones or devices does that limit how many memories we have? Are we replacing cherished moments with Facebook or Twitter? A lot of the time, when we look at pictures we’ve taken, that sparks our memories and people argue that they take more pictures now because of social media so are therefore creating more memories. At times though, I do feel we are drowning in pictures. I have taken so many pictures since owning a phone with a camera. Every so often, I download them, put them in a folder on my hard drive and they’re then forgotten about. It’s only since I’ve been blogging that I’ve been looking back over them and realising how irrelevant some of them are. What could I have done with that time instead?
In the book ‘Calm’ it is suggests that we should come off our devices a good hour before bed to get a good sleep and I have tried doing that but I do find it difficult, bad isn’t it? I do think we have to try though, before our devices really do take over and replace our communication in the real world. So, I’m going to do it. From today onwards, I’m going to come off my phone an hour before I plan to go to bed. I’m also going to try to resist the urge to check my phone first thing in the morning and make more of an effort not to rely too much on my phone. I’m not going to cut it out, I think that’s silly. I know we should ‘go with the times’ but I do believe that we should go gently.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this topic. As I get older and start thinking about my future and the kids that may be in it, I worry about what type of world they’re growing up in and whether I should be worried about it. Should we limit how much time we spend on our phones and if we do, how do we know when enough is enough?