I have had this on my mind now for quite a while and I guess it is time that I get it out. I think humanity has a problem with electronic devices. I need to say first that I am in no way against change or development and innovation, but the way we use our phones, laptops and tablets is not healthy anymore. At least that is how it appears to me and I am quite sure I am not the only one.
The way I see it, we haven’t just become enthusiastic about a new technologic development, but we have started to be so dependent on it, that it becomes unimaginable to be without these devices for longer than a few hours. We take out our phones as soon as we feel the slightest indication of boredom. I wrote a separate post about this aspect; you can find it here. We reach for them many times a day to check our messages, social media accounts and emails. We take pictures with them, we navigate ourselves through cities and we listen to music. There is nothing wrong with a practical tool that makes it much easier to do all these things, by just buying one device, but it can become dangerous when we are unable to put it away.
I am surely not the only one who has experienced the following scenario. You just planned on taking a small break from working/studying and scroll through your Instagram feed for 5 minutes, but an hour later you are still there. Or maybe you planned on looking up a cake recipe on Youtube and two hours later you find yourself watching a review on the best films of the last year. Or, if it is really serious, you just want to finish the last 10 minutes of the episode on Netflix you had to stop watching midway through and end up binge-watching for the next 4 hours.
Those things have happened to me before and no kidding, it’s not fun. Why? Because it usually happens when we are supposed to be doing something else. A lot of the time we spend online is simply for procrastinating and does not contribute anything to our day or has an impact. I mean, can you remember every single picture you saw on Instagram today? If not, I guess they were not important enough, because otherwise they might have stuck with you. There might be one or two that you remember, but that is for a reason. Important things resonate with us and they stay engraved in our memory. The information we take in every day that does not stay with us, is just taking away time. Valuable time we could spend on so many different things that might make us a lot happier.
I don’t think we are addicted to the devices themselves, we are addicted to the feeling it gives us when we receive likes on pictures or see someone responding to our posts. We are addicted to seeing all these beautiful pictures and interesting videos that spark our interest for a second, but will not of any relevance 5 minutes later already.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of valuable and important content out there that needs to be seen and we can make incredible connections online, but I am questioning if we really still are in control of ourselves. It sometimes seems like we are mad creatures that just cannot stop themselves from clicking on the next video.
When I see that happening to myself sometimes, it is really scary. Presumably that happens to a lot of people, probably even most, but does that make it normal? I really think it does not. I mean if we start regretting spending so much time online, but still do it, isn’t that exactly what usually happens to people that are addicted to something? They know it is bad and that they will regret it afterwards, but they still do it, because they can’t stop themselves.
If we planned to use all our time on this, we would not feel bad afterwards for not doing something else. I think this might be a way to draw a line between time that we waste online and time that we use for a purpose, the amount of regret we feel afterwards. I don’t feel bad when writing, uploading or promoting a blog post. I don’t feel guilty for connecting with other amazing people and learning about topics I haven’t heard of before. I don’t feel guilty for doing research on things I am interested in. But I do feel guilty for watching 5 Youtube videos about the top 10 TV couples. I do feel guilty for looking at 200 memes on Instagram. And I do feel regret when I spend 2 hours on Pinterest, pinning tips and advice I will never use anyways, because I am too lazy.
These are just examples for me, but of course there is a lot more things on our phones and other electronic devices that can distract us from reading a book or pursuing another hobby. Being on tumblr and looking at fandom theories or fanfiction is only one of them.
My point is, it can feel so good to just cut yourself off sometimes. I would really recommend to you to try and not use social media for a day or even longer if you can. Especially on holidays this is so important. I think we need to get in touch with ourselves more often and taking a step back from our devices could really help with that.