Technology has come a long way since the moment the internet and computers were easily accessible to the public – which is actually a pretty short period of time. Although it has created some pretty great things for the world, such as the ability to speak to those we love from across the globe, 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.
The impact of technology on the everyday
Our kids are growing up in a world where going out to play is no longer the norm, they’d rather be at home playing online with or without friends, or watching their favourite shows. 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 the effect of technology isn’t only impacting our children. It stops us from taking in the world around us, where we’d often watch the world go by on a journey we now stare at our devices. Travelling has become important if only to share our experiences on social media. Relationships too have become more difficult and challenged; technology offers the opportunity for secret lives, a distraction from those we’re with, and time wasted scrolling when we could be making meaningful connections offline.
For 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 set boundaries between you and your devices to ensure you get sufficient downtime, help you to connect better with the people and world around you, and help free yourself from the pressures of technology:
Switch off your phone at work
This can be hard if you have a dependent, but even then you can always give the office number to call in case of emergency.
The reason this is a great idea for the workplace is that it allows you to socialise in your breaks more and become more invested in your work. Whereas a phone left out can be an easy distraction.
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 then be doing it in your break too. It won’t feel like much of a break otherwise. 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 by my parents and one I still abide to now as an adult. I also expect any friends and partners to adhere to this rule when dining with me too.
Sitting across from one another at the end of the day is the perfect time time to connect with the people in your lives. So it isn’t a distraction, leave your phone in your bag, pocket or another room. If it is left out on the table it can subconsciously tell those around you, you’re not as important as the device.
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 device.
The best place for a technology free zone is probably the bedroom. The light from your phone and other devices can cause sleep disruption and is the space that could impact intimacy.
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 the one that’s been created on your iPhone screen.