It is very easy to fall into the trap that technology can bring, I know because the past couple of weeks, I have been dragged into a world of mindless tv and endless scrolls of social media. So here we are in the age of digital dementia, and for most of us, we don’t even see it or realise the effect it is having on us.
I am like many others, where my phone is my world, it is by my side everywhere I go. Once upon a time, this device sat in my handbag, and everybody complained that I never answered it! And yes, they were right, it was at the bottom of my bag somewhere, where I either couldn’t hear it ring or could not find it in time if I had.
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So my phone (which once sat in my handbag) is now in my pocket when I am out. It is also on the table as I eat and even in my bathroom when I shower! What has happened to me? Have I become THAT person? Am I on my way to digital dementia?
A few things happened to me this past week, which has had me thinking. Firstly, I started reading again, and I am glad I have. My new find “The 5 am club” by Robin Sharma, which touches on the term digital dementia, has brought to light a few home truths.
Delving deeper (yes, I love to research a topic once it sparks my interest), it is discussed in all types of research right now. To my horror, the effects of this new era of technology have caused everything from phone addiction to digital dementia! No wonder Steve Jobs never allowed his children to play on the very devices he helped create.
What makes it even more real, is watching the latest Netflix documentary (so sometimes binging on Netflix can be beneficial) called “social dilemma”. The documentary discusses the concerns that previous employees of these big named social media and technology companies have on social media today.
I was horrified when I checked my screentime to see how many times I had picked up my device in one day or how many hours spent on my phone just aimlessly scrolling, and even scarier when I read my weekly average.
Even though I had thought I was doing pretty good, with limiting my time on socials and had turned off all notifications months ago. I had not taken into account everything I use my phone for each day.
My daily routine revolves around it, everything from podcasts to daily workouts. This phone is genuinely running my life for me, and I hadn’t even noticed. I no longer have to use any maths or correct my gramma as my phone does it all for me.
I no longer have to think or remember anything as my phone can do everything for me anytime I pick it up. This new age of artificial intelligence is outsmarting us all!
We are so concerned about what it is doing to our children; we hadn’t realised that it has also crept into our own lives. I made a conscious effort yesterday to fight the temptation while I stood in line, waiting patiently while everyone else around me reached for their phones.
When did we allow our minds to be fulfilled with digital noise? When did we stop waiting patiently and replace it with a society where we won’t give ourself the luxury of being bored, or the freedom to daydream out a window?
How have we stifled our imagination by creating tools that we thought would enhance it? How often do we allow our thoughts to wander?
Or even reminisce about times gone by or give ourselves a break from information overload? When was the last time we memorised phone numbers or calculated a sum, without reaching for the phone to do it for us?
MY NEW OUTLOOK
This week has seen me become more aware of my surroundings, without a podcast in my ears, as I go on my daily walk or grab for my phone when I have a few minutes in the day.
I have seen myself consciously stop reaching for my phone to fill in time, by keeping it in my bag at lunch and off my nightstand as I sleep.
So please, if I have not answered your email within the hour, returned your text within seconds of you sending it or have stopped liking your photo on social media.
Do not worry about me; there is really nothing wrong! I have just decided to live in the now, enjoy my surroundings and allow myself the luxury of only checking messages sparingly.
It is funny how much more I have been able to squeeze in the day when I am not wasting my time on useless information. It is weird how less exhausted I feel before bed when my brain isn’t switched continuously on by unnecessary busyness.
I have swapped screentime for yoga and meditation in the mornings and reading a book at night. Oh, how much more rewarding and fulfilling my life feels without the intrusion of unnecessary noise.
ARE YOU READY TO CHANGE?
I am not sure if we are all prepared to let go (just a little bit) to our smartphones just yet when companies keep giving us more and more reasons to pick up the device and draw us closer and closer to digital dementia.
But, and that is a big but, if you are brave enough to follow suit, and spend a little less time on your phones, you too can feel the difference, so if you also have decided to literally “wake up and smell the roses”, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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