Are you familiar with these?
I bet you encounter these situations everyday. Everyone seems to have a smart phone nowadays and we’re so glued to it that I think it’s bordering on unhealthy addiction for some. I’m a recovering addict myself. But well…I finally saw the light last year so this is a follow-up post on what I’ve written in 2013 “To Text or Not to Text – Whatever Happened to Direct Human Connection?”. I’ve been observing the current situation in my daily life. The glaring evidence in the society right now is that we have become TOO attached to our devices. In a social gathering or meeting with friends & loved ones, we seem to pay more attention to our devices, checking unimportant emails, updating status, uploading photos and spying on other people’s lives via social media apps rather than focusing on having a great conversation with the person(s) you’re with, at that very moment.
Thankfully, since last year, I’ve gradually decreased the amount of time I spend staring at my phone or scrolling mindlessly on my social media apps. Now, the things I do using a smart phone have been reduced to these followings:
1) Whatsapp/LINE/normal SMS to send short messages. Usually when I need to confirm meeting time and place or organize group events.
2) Social media updates to share some useful/interesting articles or videos once in a while and to promote my latest blog post. Remember, Sharing is Caring! 🙂
3) When I’m by myself: editing pictures, listening to music, checking emails, reading e-book.
4) To dial and receive phone calls (of course, the original function of a phone *duh*).
5) To read news/articles and keep myself updated on the latest happenings in the world.
So after identifying more-productive things that I can do using my phone, I went out on a mission to prevent further phone/social media addiction. In the past few months, I’ve been banishing several bad habits by:
1) Not indulging on lengthy conversation via text/chat messages – prefer doing it face-to-face (quality time)
2) Not tapping on any social media apps on my smart phone 30 minutes before or after sleep.
3) Not uploading any gathering or events or holiday photos immediately. Enjoy the moment!
4) Not checking-in or reporting my whereabouts to everyone or updating status every day.
5) Resisting the urge of taking out my phone when I’m with anyone in any setting; in a group or 1-to-1, from a restaurant to a public transportation –> but when I do take it out, it’s a cue for “please walk away, I’m not gonna have a conversation with you. I need my alone time now”
6) Cutting down the mindless scrolling or tapping on my smart phone apps/social media apps when I’m in the company of others (family, friends, colleagues)
7) Scrolling only when I’m by myself or extremely bored or have nothing better to do (idle mode). Otherwise, I’d prefer to listen to music while observing people (when on the train, yes…people-watch) or read an e-book or sleep.
8) Sharing photos privately in a group chat with relevant people. Not publicly in social medias or whatever platform available for showing off. Read this article on how people are constantly showcasing the best aspects of their life onto social media, “Why We Compare Ourselves to Others on Social Media and How to Stop”
I feel sad upon realizing that we are slowly losing our touch for creating real human connections.
I hope I’m wrong.
I hope NOT all genuine human-interaction, eye contact and warm smiles can be replaced with chat screen, “like” button and emoticons/stickers.
So folks, the next time you’re out for lunch/dinner or any kind of activity with anyone, leave your devices in the bag/pocket and do pay attention to the person(s) in front of you, not just stare at your phone the whole time.
Finding the balance? It’s an on-going journey.
enjoying my well-deserved day off, pouring my thoughts into words:)
This is a reminder and a wake-up call for myself and for you, my friends.
There are so many similar articles written on this topic, these are my favorite ones:
1) A love letter from my phone by Jason Smith (Thought Catalog)
2) Smart Phones – Dumb People — >a video