Categorized | Opinion

Staying Constantly Connected Has You Disconnected

By Mike T. SmithOpen Mike for web

Many years ago the cell phone was introduced. It was an exciting invention that meant freedom from having to sit around the house waiting for a phone call that often didn’t even happen. Now you could take the phone with you and life could go on. After all, you’re busy and you’ve got things to do.
Fast forward some years and the cell phone has evolved into the smart phone.  Now you’re more connected to the outside world more than ever…but are you really? In your back pocket is all your email, a camera, a calendar, 5000 of your favorite songs, a photo album, an extensive video collection that the entire world shares with you, and a way to spy on all of your friends and family. In the not so distant past if you wanted to carry all of that around you would’ve looked like the world’s most ambitious hiker. It would be a nightmare to get through the security check at the airport.
It’s all cool, but it comes at a cost. Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Which ironically, I read that quote on Facebook. Personally I find his words a bit harsh, but no one can deny that human interaction is suffering. Everyone is constantly looking down at their phone and missing a lot of cool stuff that’s happening in the real world. I was at dinner one night and saw a family of four sitting in their booth all looking at their phones. No one was talking to one another.
I’m not being judgmental. I struggle with this like anyone else. Here are some guidelines that I live by that cut down on my smartphone usage and in the process I take more control of my life. They can help you too.
1) Wear a wristwatch. I know it’s still technology, but it’s 18th century technology. That doesn’t even count anymore. Wearing a wristwatch keeps you from looking at your phone just to see what time it is. Sounds innocent enough but once the phone comes out time has a way of slipping away from the reflex of checking social media apps.
2) Check email once a day. One hour a day and then close it out until the next day. Let everyone know that’s your practice and be clear that if they have an urgent concern, they should call or text you.
3) No social media for 24 hours. Once a week I turn the data off on my phone and I log off all of my social media accounts. There are no exceptions. During this 24 hour period I never know what people are eating, and I’m okay with that.
If Einstein were alive today he’d probably have a similar list, but he would’ve used bigger words. I’m okay with that also.
Mike T. Smith speaks to teens about self-esteem, bullying and leadership. He also speaks to adults on how to better communicate with teens. To sign up for Mike’s weekly email go to http://miketsmith.net.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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