Does life get simpler and more enjoyable when we unplug the web? Once we put our smartphone away and dare I ask, turn off the TV, does one feel more free and relaxed? I think deep down, we all know the answer to those questions. So, what are you doing about it?
People in increasing numbers are unplugging. They’re getting rid of their smartphones in favor of a simple flip phone. They’re putting their tablets into a drawer. They’re turning off the loud, ever-more obnoxious TV shows. And, they’re even getting rid of cable in favor of more user-centric streaming services. In short, more of us are realizing that some technology isn’t making life easier, as is claimed, but rather, is making us all a bundle of nerves.
There is a terrific series of articles in The Guardian by Tim Dowling and one of those pieces, “Going offline: the benefits of a break from the internet,” really helped to put it into perspective. Here are a few snipets from this particular article:
“…On the first day we kept checking our phones, even after they had died. Maddy, who was quite young at the time, seemed to find the absence of screens inexplicable, as if she was being unfairly punished. What kind of a holiday fails to deliver the basics of human existence, like an iPad? She slept a lot. It was only on the third day that we tried the fishing rods. From the veranda of the cabin I hooked a small roach. Then we tried dropping a line from the raft and she got a catfish.
One day I got up soon after dawn and couldn’t find Maddy at all. Then I saw her, sitting out on the raft in the centre of the small lake, her back to me. She was singing to herself and fishing. Our off-grid retreat to the woods of the Dordogne was working…”
“…It speaks to anyone fed up with reaching for their phone and being constantly bombarded with the woes of the world, disgusted by couples in restaurants glued to their screens and not each other, appalled by their children’s addiction to Snapchat and Fortnite (by all accounts the most compulsively irresistible video game ever invented), and generally up to their back teeth with everything from Alexa to Zuckerberg…”
Read more from Tim Dowling in the Guardian.
Bravo to Tim and his family! Family vacations are supposed to be fun and should be an adventure we share together, enjoying the sites, sounds and smells in real time and not through a smartphone or tablet. That’s how vacations used to be and those of us fortunate enough to have had those experiences, carry their cherished memories through adulthood. We didn’t spend our vacations posting endlessly to Facebook or Instagram. We didn’t stop the adventure so we could “tweet” about our fun day…we lived it as it happened and we spent our time together, reminiscing over dinner about what a fantastic day we had and, what another fun day tomorrow would be. Today, people are so busy posting and tweeting into cyberspace, that they’re missing the whole point of life itself.
Life is happening every second of every day and its not, in any way, truly happening on the web. Life is waiting for us to join and doing so in a truly meaningful way means being an engaged and active participant.
Try putting your technology away for a while — leave the phone home. Leave the tablet in a drawer. Turn off the TV. Head outside and make your own adventures. It doesn’t have to be a big family vacation, but rather, can be a day-trip, a walk in the park, a picnic by the river or lake, or, just a hike into the woods. Whatever you want to do, just do it and get out there — live your life to the fullest, because life…real life,will never be found online.
What can be done to make sure today’s youth don’t turn into tech junkies? For one thing, be a role model. If young people see their parents / adults / role-models always online or glued to their smart device, what message does that send to them?
VeryWell Family has an excellent article with helpful tips on what you can do: 10 Ways to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time