When was the last time you didn't use the internet for 24 hours?
I recently spent 10 days in Holbox, a little island with terrible Wifi and a week later, another 10 days in Cuba, where internet can only be accessed in specific places, and guess what, I Loved it!
I have previously done week long cyber detoxes, but being in places where I could not access the internet willingly, I realised that I tend to look at my phone more times than I dare to count! As I looked around my hostel in Holbox I noticed people talking to each other and a fellow backpacker commented on the fact that there was a hostel with good wifi where people were not talking to each other as much. What a sad realisation! In Cuba, I was happy to see children play football, teens on skateboards and older generations playing chess in the street. It was a bit of a shock to be surprised by this sight. It made me really worry about our use of the internet and the effect it is having on us.
I decided to do a little research and found in recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation that one in ten Brits feel lonely often and 48% of people think ‘we are getting lonelier in general.’
It seems that the same technological advances that enable us to connect with people across the Globe, are also guilty of disconnecting us to people close by.
So should we ditch our phone altogether? Of course not! but what can we do?
You gotta be on it to ‘make it’. Yet being on it could ‘’ruin your life’’ says ( David McMillan – online content creator, former YouTube employee and social media enthusiast.
David McMillan argues ‘social media has created a new generation super-empowered individuals. We are now able to broadcast our ideas, our images, our videos, and our opinions like never before. It has increased both the size of our potential audiences and the speed with which we can reach those audiences. It’s given us the tools to support charitable causes, to speak out against questionable business practices, to chastise our political leaders, and to launch social movements that can potentially change the world.’
I love this about social media, but I ask myself, what's the point in reaching wide audiences far and wide if we are not connecting with our neighbour. With the people we see everyday. We are social creatures (for the most part).
What to do?
I am still learning, it seems most of us are. But here are a few rules I try to follow:
Phone stays in my pocket when I am with friends, unless I am taking photos. Messages can be read later.
Must take a picture of your meal (guilty as charged…) do it, but stay in the moment, take on picture and share it at a later stage, your food will be cold by the time you’ve found the right caption and hashtags to go with it.
Prioritise face to face
Buy an alarm clock
Sleep on flight mode
Turn internet on after morning meditation, or whatever you do when you first open your eyes in the morning.
I hope these work for you too and please feel free to share your own tips with me.
This is a guest post by Melissa of Yogibee, visit her website for more good reads.