Photo CC By: flipagram.com
Within this day and age–it has become apparent that we have a society that is fueled by technology and what the online world has to offer. The point of digital dependency has increased significantly within the last 10 years, and continues to do so. As a society we have lost that balance between enjoying life, and living life behind a screen.
That thought intrigued me–so I recently decided to take note at dinner at a restaurant last week on how many people were actually engaged in their dinner conversations or consumed with content on their phones. The results were sad–and it is a realization that people are so disconnected with their surroundings, and conversations that it’s hard to know whether anyone really cares about one another anymore. At least one person (if not more) at each of the tables around us had a phone in hand, weren’t looking at the person with them, or weren’t talking to each other at all. What is the point of going out to dinner anymore if we can’t put a phone down for 30 minutes.
Are We Truly Present Anymore?
Being truly present means that we are there in a specific time or moment and enjoying the whole realm of an experience. Do we ever do that anymore?? I’m not so sure–due to the fact that we go out with friends, go to dinner, go on vacation and we are truly never there because we have a phone, camera, tablet, etc. and are constantly taking pictures and posting it to social media. So that moment is truly not being enjoyed or experienced because we are more concerned about sharing it with everyone else. I am notorious for doing this as well, however, I have taken note lately that those experiences are for me to enjoy–not everyone else…..If they want to enjoy it, then maybe they should go see for themselves. I don’t need to share my entire life moments and experiences with everyone, and I’m completely fine with that.
What Do We Lose When Suppressed By Devices?
What gets lost? Time. Moments. Experiences. Wholesome interactions. I don’t think that anyone truly realizes how dependent we have become on digital devices. I think what made me most sad was in the What Happens When Teens Try To Disconnect For Three Days article, that one student actually says, “‘I felt normal again,’ Aceret said of regaining his phone. ‘When I wasn’t with my phone I felt different, like I was naked all the time.’ His phone makes him feel secure.” To me, that breaks my heart. When someone has to have a phone in order to feel secure–I think then we have failed our younger generations in helping teach them how to live life to the fullest. We haven’t taught them how to live in an experience without talking to their friends via social media or through texting. We’ve lost the essence of life through digital devices.
Reflecting On My Own Digital Mindfulness…
I feel like I go through these phases–where there are periods of time (days, month, etc) where I feel like I want to throw my phone out the door. I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone, wouldn’t deal with social media, and wouldn’t have to worry about phone calls. Then there are times when I am the complete opposite. I’m constantly on Facebook, scrolling through reading everyone’s updates, and seeing what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Yet, I can’t stand that. I hate wasting time, and I feel that’s how I spend a lot of my time–wasted by scrolling through social media. It’s kinda funny that this week’s assignment happened to be digital mindfulness because actually just last Thursday, I decided to unplug from Facebook for awhile. I wanted to see what difference it made in my life to not have that as a crutch to waste time. To my surprise–I haven’t missed it. The only thing that makes it difficult is that I am part of groups that use Facebook as their sole way of informing members of rodeos, barrel races, etc. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to get around that aspect, because some cancellations/updates are always last minute, and they only post on Facebook. That’s something that I will have to do some thinking on.
What Did I Learn?
I learned that digital mindfulness is something that should be at the forefront of our digital use. That it is important to create a balance between digital use and reality. I also believe it is highly important that we create and instill a good balance in our younger generations. They need to realize that life isn’t within a phone or computer–it’s within experiences. I find that’s a responsibility that I as a future teacher will make sure to educate my students on.
Photo CC By: Chandra Stoddard