“Hello? Did you hear what I said?”
It’s Friday night and you’re at the dinner table ready to catch up with your partner and they are engrossed in their phone, completely oblivious to their surroundings, including your existence. After about three or four hollers, they finally zap out of their reverie, but by then, well, you’re over it.
Sound familiar? Sadly, this is an all too common scenario in a world increasingly addicted to mobile device usage and social media.
Mobile devices have become an extension of ourselves, effectively changing our lifestyle. At any given time, we are checking our phone and have a mild heart attack if it goes missing. With the accessibility of social media on mobile devices, it has also changed the way we think as individuals: Many of us now go through every day life thinking, “oh, that would make a great Instagram photo, or what just happened would make for a great Facebook status update, or tweet, etc. We have developed this never-ending thirst for sharing information and getting noticed.
According to the Mobile Marketing Association of Asia, more people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush. Now that’s a scary thought. Furthermore, the problem of mobile addiction is so real, that a rehabilitation centre exists for it. Check out reStart, a facility located in Washington, geared towards helping people ‘digitally detox’ and live more meaningful lives.
While it might feel great to always be online and connected with the outside world, no matter where you are – it is equally important to disconnect once in a while. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve been missing out on.
Here are four key reasons to take a mobile vacation:
1) You can actually THINK
By breaking out of mobile prison, you’re actually allowing yourself to rejuvenate and allow your mind to focus without the intrusion of an email ping or Facebook alert deterring you. When you really need to concentrate on an important task, discipline yourself and either turn your phone off completely, or at the very least, put it on silent and put it away. What you can’t hear or see won’t distract you.
2) Your eyes will thank you
Staring into a screen until your eyeballs are ready to pop out is never fun. For example: If you have a desk job, you’re probably staring at a computer all day anyway, so instead of taking a break only to go on your phone, do something else. Read a traditional book or magazine (yes, those still exist) or simply take a walk and get some fresh air, without said phone.
3) You’ll drive the way you’re supposed to
You really don’t want to be that person that causes an accident because you were on your phone while making a lane change. Seriously. That email that just came in, or the multiple texts coming through, can wait. Most cars are now equipped with Bluetooth technology, so take advantage – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
4) You will meet people…the old-fashioned way
Build stronger relationships by interacting with people face to face (you’ll be amazed that you still have that ability), instead of always hiding behind a screen and keypad where messages can often be misinterpreted and taken out of context.
While it’s inevitable that ‘mobilegeddon’ is here to stay, it is crucial to remember one thing: there is life outside of your mobile device.
Here’s an interesting video that further illustrates the dark side of being “too connected”:
Remember, the key is finding a healthy balance between the digital and the real world that works for you – and once you’ve accomplished that, you will be a lot happier.