Picture your younger self. Calling your friend up on the phone and asking them to come over and play. Asking your siblings to come onto the trampoline to jump. Going out to walk the dog and breathe some fresh air. Climbing the trees at the beach and starting new adventures. Baking cookies that fill the house with sweet smells. Reading for hours on end. Doing all of this without taking a phone out for one second to capture a photo, like a photo, tweet about it or film it. But – breathing in those moment with your loved ones. Making memories in your mind and living those moments. That is how I remember the days where technology did not rule our lives. How different it all was, how very different that it makes me notice even more so just how different it all is now.
Watching people sitting on the train or waiting in the cue to listen to music, watch endless videos, scroll on the pages of social media and staring into others lives was the main reason why I deleted my Facebook with over 400 friends. It didn’t mean anything. It didn’t warm my heart or give me satisfaction. What really did, was getting a photo from my family overseas or a hand written letter from a dear friend. Yet, as I walk the streets now, as I sit in the cafe or on the train – the screens are everywhere.
There are some distinct memories and moments that I really want to address. It has become such a common habit that many of these are seen as ‘normal’. As with everything, using technology should have a balance. Technology can be the most wonderful tool of connection. However, an unbalanced use of it can make it the very opposite of that with less social interaction. Here are some thoughts I’d like to share:
Being in touch with yourself. You are the one who will live side by side yourself for the rest of your life. That’s really something right? Yet, we are so in touch with our phones, so addicted to other’s lives, instant entertainment, instant satisfaction and instant gratification that unrelentingly so cause people to lose their self within it. There is no such thing as a perfect life online or offline.
The distortion of truth which sounds quite dramatic. However, I truly believe technology plays a significant influence in how many people view love. It’s sad, as many times when I have gone out to a cafe, whether I am in Asia or Australia, there is a couple that take pictures together, then both use their phones for the rest of the afternoon. They’re side by side, yet so far.Technology is so convenient, that many people are talking to other people, seeing different lives and viewing edited lives that can distort perceptions on the truth.
Smart phones on the street and train. Let’s face it, if I get a text or see an interesting article, I’m going to reply or read it. However, there is a difference between checking your phone for a good 10 minutes, and a constant gluing on the screen, with the head down and neck slouched that I see all too often. I was sitting in the MRT once in Taiwan and the whole row of people were using their phones. Yet, I was the only person looking outside at the beautiful mountains. It felt as if I couldn’t share that special moment with anyone.
People that use phones constantly when you go out together. This is a good example of what seems like such a ‘normal’ habit, to the extent that people don’t think it’s rude. But, I have to tell you bluntly – to anyone who uses their phones constantly to do something ‘more important’ when they are talking to someone – it is rude. Even if it’s to edit a photo, reply a long message or check a Facebook wall. Most of the time, these do not need to be instantly done. Yet, the word instant is part of the 21st century.
Feeling the rarity of holding a book. I love reading. Which is why I simply love that the internet has millions of articles and books to read. However, I still much prefer the physical element of books. I remember carrying a pile of books home and getting the oddest looks. Yet, it came from people who were holding their phones. It is an irony. It is also a proof that our society is controlled by technology.
Remember to not lose your passions. Whether that is reading, listening to old records on tape, going for a hike, spending time with friends, travelling overseas, playing music or anything you love to do. Remember we don’t need to use technology every moment of our lives. Personally, I try my best to not use technology when I am with someone. I believe it is important to not lose yourself and define yourself by technology. It breaks my heart to see little kids already using phones, so that parents can make them stay quiet. If that is the way to make a kid stop being naughty, then I don’t know what it will be like in 10 years time for young kids growing up. Remember to take a break everyday from technology to stay in touch with the earth and yourself. As I am sure most of us, would rather spend most of the rest of our lives talking and spending time with people, rather than looking at a screen.