Our world today has advanced technologically in wonderful ways when it comes to increasing the length and quality of life through medicines and medical treatments. But, what I believe really hinders this beautiful and helpful side to technology, as well as our quality of life, is phone use, yes, phone use.
I am sure you have seen plenty of examples, like that in the picture above, of people constantly staring at their phone screens instead of the people right in front of them. Maybe you’ve been one of them! Maybe you don’t see it as a problem? Unfortunately our national pastime, if not obsession, has become individual phone screen watching!
Spending quality time with friends or family has turned into moments interrupted by long periods of screen watching. Conversations on deep meaningful subjects are disturbed when someone has to check their latest text, twitter, snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram announcement.
Reading a book has turned into having a book in front of you, on your lap, but rather than actually reading the book you get too “busy” reading whatever may be on your phone. Going to a restaurant on a date or with friends the same things can be seen happening. Rather than enjoying a nice meal and conversation phones are on the table, and no matter what it is being said it gets interrupted if someone gets a notice that a message has arrived.
The worst kind of social encounter is when you go out of your way to meet with someone for coffee and all they do is sit on their phone, so technically you’re just casually talking to yourself, while they look at their newsfeed on Facebook. I think we can all admit that phone use has turned into an obsessive habit for far too many of us. The problem is that our phones keep us connected to social media.
Social media is why people are so glued to their phones... everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing, and everyone wants to share what they are doing…every moment…of every day!
The sad, but strangely humorous reality, is that even with all this “social” media, our generation is socially awkward when it comes to real life (yes real life) social encounters. People seem to get frightened when you give them a real life smile (not an emoji) or wave a hello! They may act as if this kind of real life social encounter is somewhat odd.
Don’t get me wrong, I like staying connected with my friends just like everyone else, but can we dial it down a bit? Do we have to share every special moment with everyone? Do we really need to interrupt a friend’s conversation to see what someone just said about our latest Facebook post? Can we go out to eat with friends and put our phone on silent? Can we start investing ourselves, rather than our phones, in social relationships?
There is no doubt we need to change the way our generation is living with our phones. Here are some ideas…
1. Surround yourself with people who aren’t consumed by phone use because those are they ones who will truly be in the moment with you.
2. When going out for coffee or dinner with friends simply ask if the time together can be a phone free zone.
3. Put the phone away for a few hours a day. I know it could be hard. Go take a brief walk without your phone. Put your phone in another room (on silent) and go to another room to read a book. Go work out and leave the phone at home.
4. Find a hobby to share with someone else in real time and real life, rather than having to share it on social media.
5. If you find yourself having to share just about everything you do on social media start asking yourself why?
Have you tried to cut back on screen time? Comment below and let me know what worked (or didn't) for you.
The bottom line is that we can change our cultures phone/social media addiction, but to do so we need how to learn to live in the moment. Believe me there are others who are waiting to meet you so you can live in the moment together!