I think it’s an established fact by this point that technology plays a significant role in our lives. Phones, Ipads, TVs, laptops, all the jawns with a screen. Each one biding for our time. Time that many of us willingly give. Well, I would say our brains kind of trick us into using them almost constantly. We love that dopamine rush and the distraction. There are positives and negatives regarding technology usage, and I would say which one it is mostly depends on how one is using their devices.
I know I find myself checking my phone often simply because I get some signal from my brain suggesting (not sure if this is the right word here) I do so. This is simply the brain looking for a quick dopamine rush most of the time or a distraction. A thought in my head tells me that it’s important I go check my email/snapchat/any social media site even though I may have just done so less than 20 minutes ago. The only social media site I currently use is Facebook, unless you count snapchat. I don’t have the app on my phone anymore because I don’t think it’s a good use of my time to scroll through the feed multiple times a day just for the sake of doing so. I used to have twitter and I recognize how much time I could spend just scrolling through the feed. I know many people who have every social media site on their phones and spend tons of time looking through each site multiple times a day. I’m not criticizing anyone here because I do the same thing still. I’ll check the News app on my Iphone multiple times a day now and I really do not think it’s a great use of my time. Despite not having social media on my phone I still find myself looking at the screen way too often.
One could argue looking at various social media sites multiple times a day is how they want to spend their time. Want to make sure you know what’s going on with other people, right? FOMO. I understand the argument, but it would be worth asking the person to think a little deeper. Constantly looking at a screen is really just distracting from the present moment. The same thing will be on the feed an hour later than right now. I do think my generation and especially the youngsters below us are in a precarious spot with how much technology is available to us any moment. Kids at restaurants using phones or Ipads? No, that should not be a thing. I know I’m not a parent so I don’t have much room to talk but for thousands of years kids made it through a meal without technology allowing them to cop out from their boredom or discomfort.
What would positive use of technology look like? I think we already know; it’s just acknowledging how one can do so. Maybe setting time limits on how long you go on your phone each day? I know that would be hard for me to do but for some very organized people that could be an option. Personally, I am trying to be more mindful of what I am doing. Sometimes I’m just the puppet to my mind telling me what to do. Being able to check your thought before following through on the signal to check your phone can make all the difference. Next time you feel the impulse to check your phone just for the sake of doing so, see if you can just notice the impulse. It will probably go away if you sit with the feeling for a little bit.
Now, we are all going to still use technology and probably use it a lot. So how to do so in a positive way, at least the majority of the time? I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert in any way, but I would think it mostly revolves around checking that we are not mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching something for the sake of distraction. This can be okay some of the time but not too often. This is really hard to do. I’m on my phone way too much still so I know it’s taking the little steps that will really count.
I realize I mostly talked about phones here but obviously Ipads, TV time, video games, and any other technology are all similar. I’m trying to be more mindful of how much time I spend on them and think about how I can use them effectively, not simply as their puppet.
Hope this interested you in some way! Thanks for the read.