ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

t4y stock 128My phone saves me on a regular basis.

It saves me from boredom by always providing me with a new Instagram or Facebook post to glance at while I’ve got nothing better to do (or have heaps of stuff to do but want something to procrastinate with). It saves me in awkward situations by providing me with something that makes me look busy. It saves me in situations where I want to zone out and not listen to the world, but instead put my headphones in so that I can listen to Beyoncé. These are just a few examples.

My phone saves me so often that I’ve forgotten how to live without it.

We’ve all grown up with technology. In fact we grew up amidst the transition into a technological world. It’s crazy to think that our generation is the last to have had their first baby photos taken on a non-smart phone camera.

The times have definitely changed and they continue to do so. Children are learning how to use iPhones and computers a lot younger than we did. At this rate, it’s inevitable that our reliance on technology will continue to exist, and perhaps intensify.

I can guarantee that I’m not the only person who gets separation anxiety when they’re phone-less. In some instances, this is completely justifiable, if you’re in the city by yourself, it’s reassuring that you’re able to contact someone just by hitting a few buttons. Or if you’re lost, it’s nice to know that your phone’s GPS can tell you exactly where you are and how to get to where you need to be.

But where do we draw the line with this, dare I say, addiction to technology?

We’ve all seen it before… A group of friends walking together, all glued to their phones, or a couple out for dinner, with zero dinner convo and instead a whole lot of phone activity.

Checking notifications that we receive on our phones has become instinct. We do it regardless of the physical company we’re with. It’s important to reply to messages and other notifications, but when you start to disengage with the people you’re with in favour of these phone interactions, it becomes an issue.

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Multi-tasking is a great skill. A lot of people are able to converse with people while texting at the same time. But how much are we sacrificing in both of those interactions when we’re not giving either our upmost attention?

Nobody likes to hold a conversation with someone whose mind is elsewhere. Even if you can text without looking, you’re still not fully engaged in the physical conversation you’re having.

So what can you do?

I don’t mean to preach, because I can fully relate and am guilty of all of the above but lately I’ve been trying to leave my phone alone for a while.

I’ve heard some pretty cool stories. Some friendship groups like to gather all of their phones up and put them in the middle of their table if they’re out for dinner. Some people deactivate their Facebook and Instagram accounts for brief periods of time. God forbid, some people actually turn off their phones for extended periods of time.

You may not be willing to try any of the above, but I promise that putting your phone or computer aside for a few measly hours won’t leave any permanent damage.

– Joely Mitchell

-Photos Amy Steele

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