There was a time when light was a symbol of enlightenment and self-realization but that has quickly changed. Now when we talk about light in darkness, it is usually the light of your smartphone lighting up for a new notification. You’d get up weary eyed to the sound of that ding and check what just came up in your virtual social world that has quite ironically made you unsocial. And now that you have checked that notification, you decide to quickly scroll through whatever new has happened online while you were trying to catch some sleep. Something good pops up and you are surging through photos and videos, even posts that gradually rob you of your sleep and before you know, you’ve lost some important sleep time.
Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of technology and I love the ways in which it has made our lives comfortable even luxurious to certain extents, but the pervasive ways in which it lurks around the corner to sabotage our happy-go-lucky lives is the crux of my concerns related to technology today. I have decided to find who is responsible for making us addicted to technology in such ways where the cons have started weighing out the pros.
Technology has been holing into our lives through pervasive and persuasive means like Social media, emails, YouTube, Buzzfeed, et al. The fact that most of the tech companies can boast of abnormal amounts of profits only if we used them frequently, makes them work relentlessly to make their services more enticing.
This is sweet temptation that can hardly be ignored and we are led into hell’s fire once we’ve tasted the forbidden fruit. While the fruit in itself is tasty enough and we love the way these websites help us stay engaged and give us the chance to interact with friends who we may not have spoken for years, where things begin to blur is when these companies make content so engaging that we are unable to blink an eye as we go through all the interesting content.
All of this soon translates into insomnia, restlessness, existential crisis if you go unnoticed on the Web, a continuous urge of checking the phone for notifications or pulling up the website to check if there is something new and a complete engrossment in your device without a care of what is happening in the real world.
While I can hardly admonish the attempts of tech companies for trying to make profits from their endeavors, what I do feel strongly about is our ways on handling things. Keeping the notifications turned down, ensuring that you sleep well by putting your phone in silence mode, using our phones as a powerful device that has the capability of doing a lot but ensuring that we practice moderation in the ways in which we use the device.
From all the ways in which your boss has been deviously ruining your life, this can be the worst. With this regular chiding for not checking our mails on time, we have now picked up the habit of checking our mails more frequently than we drink water. With the need for quick replies rising to the extent that you end up checking your email even when you are in the toilet, we all know that technology is hurting us slowly and there isn’t much that we are doing about it.
It even spells havoc to our work-life balance with emails constantly reminding us what is happening in the office and some that even require a reply no matter where you are. So you silently push yourself away from the rest in a party as you hastily type a response before you join your friends again.
Most of the times, work requires uninterrupted thinking and a flow of creativity that can come only if you stop those constant email notifications. You may want to talk to your boss about the amount of time that you should spend without any interruptions to provide exceptional work and then you can spend the rest of the time checking emails, replying to them and doing other work that does not require intensive thinking.
Your friends can endorse technology in all the wrong ways, and if you are taking after them, then you may just be creating a habit that can soon turn into problem in the future. When we are with friends, enjoying the companionship, talking about the things you do and gossiping are more uplifting than checking the phone in the middle of a conversation. I personally find it insulting for the person who is talking and I find it churlish for the person who decided to act this way.
I strongly commend technology for making it easy for taking photos that can be easily made public – while there is some sort of privacy concerns there too – but I do not rely on technology for making friendly dinners lively. For that we have our friends and we should allow them to do the talking and indulge in that friendliness rather than allow technology to overpower us by not being able to resist the urge of taking out our phones for checking new notifications or emails.
By now, I have already pointed out quite conclusively that behind every person who wants to make you a technology addict, there is your willingness that makes them successful. Whether it is the profit-yearning tech companies, or your over-bearing boss or friendly faces who are keen on injecting you with a dose of technology addiction, none of them can have the effect they want on you if you take a strong standing for yourself and deny this addiction.
Our consciousness of this fact can help us reason they ways in which we use technology. Remember the ‘fire is a good servant but a bad master’ thing, well it is somewhat the same with technology. Use it because you like to stay ahead and because you enjoy staying connected, and not because it is 3 am and you have nothing else to do and the urge of picking your phone and checking it is more than the urge to sleep.