Going for a morning walk on a Sunday is one of the best ways to start the day off as well as the week. Something that struck my eyes was that many people including children are glued to their pocket-sized information bank, the cellphone. Wasn’t the cellphone invented to free ourselves from work and feel more nourished and grounded as human beings?
Most people check their phones 150 times a day or every six minutes. According to a UK study three quarter of eighteen to twenty four-year-olds reach for their phone as soon as they wake up and once out of bed, they check their phones at least 221 times a day which is an average of every 4.3 minutes. People walking down the street bump into others or trip over or crash into obstacles. Shoppers waiting in line are glued to their phones. Drivers who are supposed to be cautious when driving are busy on their phones. This has become one major reason for road accidents. Nowadays dinners are spent on the phone or taking selfies and posting them on social media rather than spending time with the relatives or meeting new friends. Children are seen playing games on a parent’s or perhaps even their own digital device, without noticing the world around them and learning from nature.
With smartphones, hands and minds are continuously occupied in texting, posting pictures on Facebook or Instagram, emailing, liking, checking videos on YouTube or playing a game. Having access to digital technology and starting to use them at a very young age will cause the modern society to have many negative impacts on physical and mental health, neurological problems, problems in personal relationships, safety on roads and sidewalks.
We are becoming slaves to devices which were supposed to free us from work and enjoy life and spend more time with people we love. Instead, we are constantly interrupted by the bells, chimes and buzzes of a message or mail which compel us to read and respond immediately. According to a study “46 percent of smartphone users now say that their devices are something they ‘couldn’t live without’.” People have been turned into digital robots! I wonder if the future generation would notice the birds, trees, the sky, sunshine, meadows and even the people around them when all these have been taken over by the cellular phone.
Well, I myself love technology. The convenience and assistance provided by the apps in a cellular phone makes life easy. However, one must know not to get addicted to these devices and also to spend some time outside the world of technology. There is so much in the world around us which we cannot get from a phone. Going for a walk with your dog, reading a book under a shady tree, meeting and chatting with your friends and new friends. This gives you both physical and mental relaxation than straining your eyes, hands and mind on digital devices. Although new friends can be met on social media, yet making new friends outside of social media will help one to converse with one another face to face.
Screens are stealing the time of children and adolescents who should be engaged in physical activities like sports, reading or spending time with other children. Such activities help for healthy physical and social development.
Why is it necessary to limit our digital life? Too much addiction to digital devices could lead to health issues. It is not the digital communication but in fact the real life communication that leads to deeper connections in feeling loved and supported. It is the real life connections with other human beings that nourishes and makes you feel counted. Your presence and full attention is something very important that could be provided through real life connections and not through digital connections.
Therefore, one may start by thinking how much digital technology is necessary such as navigating, for work or informing your parents that you are okay and use it only for what is required. Self-distraction must be minimized. Make little changes such as refraining from using your phone while eating or hanging out with family or friends. Become very conscious of what is important to you, what really nourishes you, and devote more time and attention to it.