I have recently taken a leave of absence from social media. Not by conscious choice really. Circumstances just kept me away from Instagram and Facebook. Now it may sounds like this is a serious offense. In truth many can’t seem to live without social media. I am not one to judge or point fingers or make anyone feel bad.
I do however want to say how good it feels to actually miss people (because I don’t know what they are doing every day of their life when I’m not on Instagram) and actually pick up the phone and say “let’s meet! I want to hear what you have been up to lately!” Personally I feel social media takes up too much of my time and during my absence I have made a couple observations and conclusions.
The latest evolutionary body appendage
Our iPhones (or any smartphone) are always with us. They are next to us as we sleep. As soon as we wake up it is with us every where we go, in our hands as we move from room to room or next to us on the couch, nearby table or in our pocket. We can’t seem to live without it.
During the past 10 years children have grown up seeing grownups with a black box attached to them. An attachment as natural as the clothes we wear (I am willing to go so far as to say as natural as the hair on our heads for there are those who would flee a burning house without their clothes but never leave their smartphone).
Consequently our children assume that one day their body will sprout their very own black appendage. As natural as the process when girls get their ears pierced after admiring their mothers bejeweled lobes their whole childhood.
Back in the day, when cellphones were stupid (before smartphones), there was some modicum of etiquette surrounding phones. They were never at the dinner table, always silent when in company of others.eft in the locker at school, never brought to classes. Taking a call when with other people was considered rude. It was also rude to call too early in the morning or too late at night. The responsibility was placed on the caller. Today you can call anytime of the day and it is up to the receiver to turn phone on silent or ignore call.
Today, with smart phones, all bets are off, all etiquette is cancelled. The content of the smart phone is SO important (work emails, important WhatsApp groups etc…) that it trumps whatever company you are in. I personally feel very insulted by this. I am always second to others phones even though I’m the one here in the flesh. Mid convo my company will glance at their phone to see if a message has come in (obviously more important than me).
If fear what will happen if we continue on this path…. On Sunday nights everyone in the family will be sitting around the dinner table or on movie night only physically present all the while living parallel lives through our phones. We will be spending more time with our 300 or something “acquaintances” than with our own family. We will forget to talk to each other and our relationships will weaken because we don’t know each other anymore and we don’t influence each other anymore. Each and every one is more influenced by social media or whatever is prevailing on the screens. We won’t be able to see when one of us is upset about something or just not happy and we won’t be there for each other. I am worried and I need to do something before my fears become reality….
Doing something about it
I aim to decrease screen time. Everything doesn’t have to be instagrammed to have actually happened. Some experiences I just want to enjoy as is and store away in my memory as my very own memory or maybe shared with the people I am with. I want to show the kids that the phone doesn’t have to go wherever I go. As long as I am with my family I don’t really need it, it’s not that important. Hopefully they will follow suit when they have their own. Phones will be forbidden at the table. They will also be forbidden to surface when we are doing things together. There are a thousand other things I can do but they will come to mind in due course. This is a good start.
So far I am enjoying the fact that my life has no window to the world. You want to know what I have been doing for the past months? I would love to hear what you have been up to so let’s actually meet and share stories from our lives!