Do you look up?

Have you ever felt like technology is taking over? Taking over kids lifestyles? Preventing us from enjoying the old catch up face to face? Do you spend your time texting your friends and family? Talk to them on social media websites rather than meet up or talk on the phone? I miss the old school lifestyle and I recently read an article about a family who removed technology from their household i.e. broadband, gaming consoles, mobile phones etc and wanted their kids to live a more simpler lifestyle via 1986 where they communicated more. I wish to some degree I could have the will power to simplify my lifestyle maybe leave my mobile phone at the front door or take a break from social media.

There has also been a video floating around social media which shows us that we may be letting opportunities pass us by due to the fact we are always looking down at our phones. It makes me want to look up from my mobile phone and from technology and enjoy a little more of life and be more aware of my surroundings. I.e. taking the time to look out the bus window at the view of people doing their daily chores instead of text messaging or playing games on my phone. Taking myself out of my own wee bubble. Looking out that window may entice me to smile at the cute dog walking with its owner or the child doing something funny or the couple hugging; because it’s real!

I have family members on social media but besides liking the odd post of theirs, I miss that we no longer have that close bond or feel that I am in the position to call them for a catch up. Many of my friends tend to talk on social media and that seems to be enough. Myself in the other hand, I used to be able to call my friends and talk for a good while but now it seems many of my friends/young people feel uncomfortable talking on the phone. Text messaging seems to be the only way to communicate. But the issue I find with text messaging is that a message may be written one way but it can be read with 2 meanings. Sarcasm, isn’t as easy to spot within a message of words, with no sound or emphasism and can be misinterpreted and can cause a disagreement or misunderstanding.

I have discussed with my boyfriend that at times when we are spending time together; it never feels like we are actually having ‘alone’ time as he is constantly attached to his mobile phone. The other issue is that he keeps his phone on silent, so when we are in the middle of a discussion and he lifts his mobile up to read a text message (I think he’s being rude) and it looks as if he is looking at something on social media, playing a game etc. I understand in that situation – I am also at fault for expecting the worst from him. But without a notification noise – I am none the wiser as to whether he is checking Facebook or someone is trying to contact him.

To some degree, I would love to be able to leave my mobile phone at the front door and enjoy the time away from social media and feeling the need to be attached to my mobile all day. The reason I feel that this wouldn’t be possible is that friends, family, employers etc all prefer to email, text or social media message to be in contact with someone and I could miss an important message.

Quite possibly giving yourself a break from social media at bed time would be best. I feel at times that when I close my eyes I can still see whatever I had just looked at online – whether it be a news feed, video or game etc. I do feel that I am out of the loop if I don’t check social media when I wake up in the morning or before I go to bed. I feel it would be much better if my boyfriend and I could spend some time before bed talking to each other instead of silence and looking down at our mobile phones. It’s like an addiction that no one admits to and I want to be more in control.

Not only does technology now affect relationships it can also affect friendships – we all have that one friend who is constantly on their mobile phone. I think its a manners thing – if my friend goes out for a cigarette, that is when I would check my phone or make a call if necessary, of course an emergency is different. But if we were having a conversation and I am constantly asked to give them a minute so they can text back x, y and z. It would become a little frustrating.

Our lifestyles have changed for the better with some technology i.e. TV boxes which have a record functionality which means television programmes no longer dictate our lives and we are able to catch up, on demand or record them and watch them at a more suitable time. Although at times; if I have 10 recordings on my sky box and only 4 hours to try and watch them in. Sometimes I feel under pressure and find I start to not enjoy watching that particular show.

So I am making myself a promise to consider my future, to not feel overwhelmed with technology and to still try and enjoy the simpler things instead. To enjoy reading a good book or a magazine, continue my writing, playing board games/jigsaws and socializing with family/friends face to face. And I will try and also make a special effort to not feel I have to check social media, the moment I wake up and before I go to bed.

If I attempt these changes then I have learnt something from the look up video and maybe you can too. Even one small change can make a difference.

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