Technology has come a long way since the moment the internet and computers were easily accessible to the public – which in hindsight is a pretty short period of time. But although it’s created some pretty great things for the world such as the ability to speak to those we loved from across the globe in an instant, there’s no denying that the expansion of technology has some pretty negative effects on humanity as well. In fact, some might say they outweigh the good.
For example, our kids are growing up in a world where going outside to play after school isn’t the norm, but actually feared in case they come across a stranger or miss what’s happening online. Too many times I’ve seen parents allow their children to sit and stare at an iPad at the dinner table – something that would be unacceptable when I was a child.
But that’s not all. Technology stops us from taking in the world around us, travelling becomes only important or worthy if captured on Instagram for the rest of the internet to see – did a moment even happen if it’s not on your social feed? Relationships become more difficult and challenged; have you ever wondered why our Grandparents have been married for decades upon decades yet ourselves and the generation before us are struggling to make relationships work for longer than a few years or so? Technology gives us the option to turn to people we probably shouldn’t when we’re feeling low, leads us into easier temptation and allows for others to get in the way and cause arguments that wouldn’t be necessary if social media wasn’t there.
Because of all these reasons – and for the sake of our mental health – it’s so important that we take the time to unplug and stop worrying about who’s liking our posts or finding our lives ‘Instagram worthy’.
Here are just a few things you can do to ensure you get that downtime and help yourself feel free from the pressures of technology:
Switch your phone off at work – and that includes not checking it in your breaks.
This one can be hard to do if you have somebody that might need to get in touch with you quickly for an important reason, but if that’s not the case and it’s just a normal day, then definitely try this every now and then.
Another reason this is a great idea is that it allows you to socialise in your breaks more, and become more invested in your work. I especially advise this if you work in the media, as you’re looking at social trends and internet activity all day, you don’t want to be doing it in your break too. Instead, take a book to work, or chat to colleagues and get to know the people around you everyday.
Ban phones at dinner time.
This is one I’ve always had enforced to me by my parents, and one I still abide to now as an adult – and expect any friends or partners to stick to around me as well. Sitting across from one another at the end of our days with some food is the perfect time time to connect with the people in your lives. So be sure to put your phone down and spend that time together, while you still can and phones aren’t implanted into our brains like they probably will be in the future (scary times).
Create a no technology zone.
If you can’t bring yourself to go the whole day at work without your phone, then create a space in your home that you won’t use your iPad, your phone, laptop or any other types of technology. The best place to do this is probably in your bedroom, as there’s nothing worse for you than being laid in bed scrolling endlessly through social media, or shopping online as it affects your sleep and stress levels so much, without you probably even realising.
Disable your social media for a while.
Ed Sheeran went the whole of 2016 being distant from social media as he was sick of seeing the world ‘through a screen and not through his own eyes’. And it totally makes sense. Sometimes you need to remove temptation and just disable your social connection for a while to get some perspective on life again – and why not? It’s still going to be there when you want to go back to it, the only change is going to be that you’ll feel refreshed and more invested in your everyday life… in the life actually around you rather than on your iPhone screen.