Disconnect to Reconnect: Curbing Smartphone Addiction in Today’s Tech-Crazy World
In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like we cannot live without our smartphones. We rely on them for everything – from communication to entertainment to keeping up with the latest news and trends. However, in our quest to stay connected, we often forget to disconnect and connect with the people and world around us. The constant need to check notifications, update statuses and swipe through social media feeds has created a dependency on our smartphones that is hard to break.
We live in a generation where technology has become an essential part of daily life. It has taken over our lives and attempts to blur the lines between reality and virtuality. Social media has become a viable alternative to real-life interaction. We build relationships online with people from various interests and social circles, where we can interact guilt-free. But, the reality is, these relationships are disposable.
Technology has contributed to awareness and connectivity, but there is a disconnect when people start paying too much attention to the 7-inch screens instead of the boundless world that’s literally in front of them. We have become so engrossed in digital life that we forget to live and experience the world. Every minute that we spend focusing on digital documentation is a minute lost savoring the moment.
Smartphones are practically downscaled computers, and many of the devices available nowadays will put the desktop computers of yesteryear to shame. Portability and mobility is a blessing and a curse, and if you can’t imagine yourself without your smartphone, not even for a few minutes, then it’s time to rethink your dependence. So, here are some solutions that you should try to wean yourself from your smartphone addiction and your insatiable attachment to it.
1. Use it when you need it
It’s crucial to decide to use your smartphone only when it’s necessary, even though it is easier said than done. Having too many apps on your device can be overwhelming, and there are even more available for download, including apps that’ll turn your smartphone into a digital Swiss knife. Restrict or limit your online activity to your laptop, a bulkier contraption that people seldom use nowadays. Use your smartphone for its basic functions, making calls and sending messages, in case you’ve forgotten.
2. Set boundaries
It’s essential to recover and maintain your boundaries. There’s a reason why phones are switched off on airplanes, at movie theaters, classrooms, and boardroom meetings. Some things deserve priority, like your safety and everyone else’s personal space. Besides, people used to get by without all those on-the-go emails and online statuses. It’s unlikely that you’re missing something important for the next twenty minutes. Turn off your smartphone when necessary. You’re still on the grid, and everything will come rushing in when you come back.
3. Meals first, socialization second
It’s essential to imagine a day when you tucked away your phone during dinner or lunch. Some people even have the nerve to flip out their phones in the middle of an engaging dinner date. Dinners are meant for meals first, socialization second. You can tap-tap at the touch-screen to your heart’s content if you’re dining solo or don’t mind your meal getting cold by the minute. However, do yourself and your companion a favor by tucking your phone away and focusing on the meal.
4. Stop and smell the roses, literally
When was the last time you spent time in the great outdoors, took a leisurely walk at the park, or watched children skating at a frozen lake? When was the last time you did these without bringing along a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a digital camera? The great outdoors is best experienced raw and spontaneous. It’s better if you only have the basic few tools to document the entire thing. Digital cameras can be necessities, so long as you focus on the experience and the documentation. The best thing about the outdoors is the absence of a network signal, leaving you no choice but to sit on your hands the whole time.
5. Hold the updates for later
Social media sites are tempting, but they’re terrible for productivity. Posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other sites establishes your online presence to your real and online communities, but you’ll be amazed how these little indulgences sap your time and productivity. These are serious distractions if you steal a peek at updates every so often at work. Moreover, if you’re one of those who consider social media as a second life, a few minutes of indulgence quickly stretch out to thirty minutes, to hours on end. Your community will thrive even if you don’t post-share that dancing cat video that you just can’t get enough of.
6. Real people got game
Smartphones have downscaled interaction, and technology has also done the same for gaming. Although you’re often part of a larger community when you’re in an online game, the connection is different compared to playing Monopoly or Uno with friends and family. Have you ever played Jenga online or on mobile? The virtual game is a dud compared to the actual game, isn’t it? Nothing beats the thrill of playing group games with real people, people you can actually reach out to and touch, fist-bump, and give high fives to.
7. Position yourself away from GPS
The convenience of GPS has become a necessity, and many are now dependent on this technology whenever they’re scouting the beaten and off-beat paths. It’s even easier to check out a store’s location online before you head out and visit the mall. These perks numb our sense of adventure, though. There’s a special thrill that comes when you’re lost in the wild. Besides, you’ll eventually find that shoe outlet, and you might even pass by the competition, find deals sweeter than you intended to pay for. GPS is helpful when your position on the planet is of the utmost importance, but unless you’re lost at sea or amidst a lush rain forest, everything is just indulgence.
8. Don’t text and drive
Using smartphones and electronic devices while driving takes negligence to the next level. Sure, your car has cruise control, and you know the routes like the back of your hand, but the vehicle and the driver behind, beside, and in front of you may not. If you value your life and the lives of those with you, you should drop the phone and take the steering wheel and gear shift seriously.
In conclusion, smartphones have become an essential part of our lives, and we cannot seem to live without them. But, it’s essential to realize the impact of technology on our lives and to understand how to use it in moderation. Try to implement these suggestions to curb your smartphone addiction and take the necessary steps to connect with the world around you. Disconnect to reconnect and enjoy the world around you.