This week’s debate focused on a very important issue; are we too dependent on technology and in need of unplugging? Both sides did an excellent job and made great points. Here’s my take.
I have a smartphone (shocking). I use it often. It brings me news, joy, let’s me see my daughter (funny filters and all) while I’m away from home, lets me keep tabs on the Jays game. Overall, it’s a pretty swell device. When my contract ends, will I get a new phone? Yup.
Am I too dependent on my phone? Sometimes I feel that way, but comparing myself to most other people, I use it far less. I use about 40-50% of a battery charge in a day and most of that goes to playing podcasts driving to and from work. Speaking of which, those podcasts really add a lot of enjoyment to my day and provide a great reason why I don’t want to ‘unplug’. You have to check out StarTalk, best podcast going!
While I do not consider myself addicted to technology by any means, I don’t really want to go without it. Also, because of the fact that I can use it quite responsibly I do not feel the need to ‘detox’ and put my phone in a separate room, I do it often enough already. But the times that my phone is not on my body, I’ve found that I am more invested in what is going on around me, and I enjoy that.
I was at a Regina Red Sox game a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the experience for sure, but was checking my phone frequently as well. Did I miss much of the game? No. But I think when we do that it just takes away some of the subtleties of the experience. We just don’t seem to take in all of the experience that we could be if our attention wasn’t diverted and we weren’t multi-tasking.
Speaking of multi-tasking, for some reason so many people feel that they can multi-task and accomplish more. However, this just isn’t the case. Try saying the alphabet from A to J as fast as you can. Ready….go!
How long did that take? Less than 10 seconds I’m guessing.
Now count backwards from 10 as fast as you can. Ready…go!
How long? 4 seconds??
Now alternate the two. A..10..B..9…C…8..and so on. Go!
Still going? Not so easy is it? Doing each task on their own would have been much faster. Why Everyone Should Unplug More Often discusses how multi-tasking harms our productivity, but I also believe that it makes many tasks less enjoyable as well. Many people probably don’t even watch movies without checking things on their phones anymore at the same time. I’m not sure how you can enjoy the movie to the same extent when your attention is darting from one to another, missing out on certain details and just simply not being as immersed in the film as you could otherwise be.
Same thing goes for reading a story. How many people are reading, or studying, and then the phone goes off and it takes their attention away from what they’re doing. Even if they don’t check the phone, just that break in focus is enough to interrupt ones focus. I’ve heard different numbers, but a conservative number is that it takes 5 minutes to really get ones focus back. This slows down progress, decreases studying effectiveness, and if you’re reading a story, it just totally kills the…
Sorry, my phone beeped. Where was I??
oh ya! It totally kills the suspense or intensity of the story!
So what am I really arguing for here? I believe technology offers us a lot. Kyle discusses in ‘Technology adds Comfort, Should not be Unplugged’ that he feels security by having his device on him so that he can be contacted at any time in case of an emergency. I have a young daughter, and being available at any point does bring a sense of relief, and even without an emergency, just being able to get snapchats of her brings me joy. I don’t like to use the word unplug because it seems to be such a binary choice; you’re plugged in or you aren’t. My phone is often on me, but that doesn’t mean that I’m constantly plugged in. I usually have the discipline to keep it in my pocket when I want to be fully immersed in something else (I still want to be better at this). I think people should ultimately work towards being able to keep the phone put away at times to be able to focus on something else, or appreciate what’s going on right in front of you, or to show whoever you’re talking to that what they have to say truly matters enough that you will give them your full attention.
Self-control can be hard, and so a good way to start might be to set some tougher rules like keeping the phone in another room for a certain amount of time. In ‘Is technology your crutch’, Erin came up with some goals that she plans on implementing. I think I might borrow the idea of putting the phone away for a certain amount of time when I get home after work. I think we need some time in each day to let our minds unwind and to slow things down after a busy day at work. Also, after being away from my family all day, I want to be giving them my undivided attention. Thanks for the great idea Erin!
When it’s technology time, by all means, tech it up! But when you’re experiencing something that can be best enjoyed by being fully engaged in the experience, save the battery life for later!
Live long and prosper