Mindlessly or Mindfully?

My use of technology is something I have been keenly aware of for quite some time now. When getting my first phone, at the age of 10, I had vowed to never become “overly” dependent on it. Yet here I am, in my third year of college, nearly having a panic attack at the thought of not using my phone during my 50 minute class. What changed?

I’ve heard it said that it has nearly become a security blanket for most people. Undoubtedly there are both benefits and consequences that accompany internet/social media use. In a quite tech savvy world, we tend to dwell more on the positive side of things. However, it is incredibly unhealthy to sit in front of a computer screen scrolling for hours on end.

The instant gratification that we have is ridiculous. We nearly ache for the “likes”, comments, and posts that we cannot possibly miss. The question becomes, what are we missing in the meantime. A few months back my use of my phone was very convicting to me. What message was I giving to those around me? How was I showing them that I valued them? For this reason, I made a very conscious effort to leave my phone in my pocket for my entire walk to and from classes. The more I did this, the more observant I felt. I began making an effort to make eye contact with those around me. I noticed flowers blooming in places I hadn’t before. I noticed the same people who I passed on my way to certain classes. I just feel like I noticed. Since then I have picked up a habit of occasionally looking at my phone as I walk. But in those moments I am much more aware of what I am jeopardizing.

When I watched the TedX on “Quitting the Internet for a Year”, I was intrigued. He was totally honest in saying that in some ways it was a wonderful and freeing experience, but also that he missed many opportunities and in essence set himself back a bit. I believe this is just a truth in our world. To fully disconnect ourselves is to handicap ourselves from what is available. But I do believe we need to choose to pay more attention at times. We need to begin to invest in those around us, making sure that they know we are more than just nodding heads behind a screen. This week’s readings and TedX made me hyper aware of the world around me… in a good way!

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9 thoughts on “Mindlessly or Mindfully?

  1. I think that it’s great that you have made a conscious effort to put your phone away during you walks to and from class. It is very true that using our cell phones so much take us away from our daily lives. I know that a lot of times I use my phone as an escape. I know that if there are awkward or strange situations going on around me, I tend to use my phone to stay out of it. This may not be healthy but I think that sometimes it helps me cope. I try very hard to not use my phone when I am with my family. I have little time to spend with them and I don’t want to spend it on my phone.

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    1. Since coming to college, I noticed what little time I have with people around me. I am by no means perfect, but I definitely try to make the effort to be engaged. It isn’t fair to people to show them that the only way to have our attention is to connect with us via text or facebook. How flawed is that.

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  2. HI,
    TedX on “Quitting the Internet for a Year” was very sincere, I connected with it as well. A balance is needed for all of us. I find myself torn often to saying yes to the moment or saying yes to the internet and my commitments on line.
    I do use my phone as an escape as well and I think if I put more energy in to monitoring my use I could use the time to become productive in many other areas of my life.
    This past week while completing my attention log, I have not changed my online activity however, becoming aware of where I spend my time is enlightening.
    Will you continue to limit your use while with family?

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    1. My goal is to limit my use all the time. My fiance actually downgraded to a flip phone from an iPhone a few months ago. He recognized the amount of time he spent mindlessly scrolling. Now since having only a flip phone, he has noticed that he has much more time to read, work on computers, and notices that the time we spend together is much more focused on us, not everyone else. I am actually looking to downgrade (or in my eyes, upgrade) to a flip phone by the end of this month. It is way less tempting and less stressful knowing I won’t even have facebook, twitter, instagram, etc… available to me at every moment of the day.

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  3. Not to say anything super bad but my gosh you were only 10 when you got your first phone? I am now super thankful that my parents made me wait until I had a job and paid for my own phone bill from the time I got a phone at the age of 16. Now not to say that I’m not mindless when it comes to having the device because if I ever leave my phone at home and I’m off somewhere else i freak out, but I’ve learned more in the past 2 years of trying to finish my degree on just how much time I waste sitting on my phone instead of doing my homework. That’s why now I just try to put it away or shut it off until I complete something otherwise I will most likely be on it.

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    1. Looking back, I truly wish my parents would have waited until I was old enough to work for my first phone. By giving it to me so early, it was easier for me to get attached to it much sooner.

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  4. I completely agree with you that social media has become almost completely about that gratification that you receive when someone ‘likes’ or ‘favorites’ what you have written or posted. Its truly sad how dependant we have become on our personal technology and for what? To receive a ‘like’ from someone we barely know? It really is puzzling!

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