Not so smartphones.

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I think everyone I know has been to a dinner where at least one of the people around their table is an smartphone addict. In my family of four, we have 3 addicts. Everyone but me owns an smartphone, and this is by choice, I just don’t get the hype.

However being online constantly has turned our quality family time to not be of such high quality at all. Because something is always happening on their phones. They have pockets full of distractions.

While my mother refuse to let me read the newspaper during dinner, the other family members are more often then not reading something on their iPhone.

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My dad could easily be described as somewhat of a technology-gadget nerd. We have the weirdest stuff you would not even know you needed. For example, the weather sensor, that tells you what the weather is like. You would think going outside would be enough. The gadget closest to dads heart is probably his new sound system, because it can be controlled though the phone. I have to admit, the sound system is awesome. But as my dad now can control his music from his phone via an online Spotify account, he seem to be unable to stop constantly checking up on what is queuing as the next song, or look for other alternatives and constantly checking for new albums.

I remember how in my early teenage years, both me and my brother had a CD player in our room and we use to drive our mother and father nuts by constantly changing song. They use to warn us this behavior would ruin the CD:s by scratching them. Why they did not want Celine Dions CD to go die after 1000 playbacks of “My heart will go on”, I will never understand. But now the tables have turned and they drive us crazy by not making up their minds.

Here is a scenario I think we all can relate to.

You are at a dinner, conversation is flowing freely and everyone seem to have a good time. And then, someone post a question that nobody can come up with the answer to. For example: “What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?“, “What was the name of that scary doll in that scary movie?”, “Is Betty White the only one of the Golden Girls still alive?“. And then there is always some iPhone nerd who picks up their phone. And then one out of two things happen:

1. The iPhone nerd screams out “I have an app for that“. And then everyone waits in silence for the answer, and in their heads they all curse him for being a conversation killer.

2. The iPhone nerd quietly looks up the answer in safari while all others are moving on from the topic. Five minutes later the iPhone nerd goes; “Tomorrow it is going to be sunny between 1-1.30pm, the rest of the day will be cloudy with an average temperature of 15 celsius.” Nobody really cares, but they all lost track of what they were talking of.

Put down your phone and enjoy living in blissful uncertainty.  

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Day Three.

 

Tomorrow I can turn on my home internet access again. It is definitely going to be nice not to have to walk to the library when I want to Skype or search for information.

But I would like to focus on the positive. Because there are a lot of positive things about not having any internet. First of all, I have found that it makes you more accessible to the people around you, which might sound like a contradiction since there is this great myth that internet makes us all more connected to each other. What I mean by more accessible is really more focused. More focused to listen to the individuals who are around me without the distraction of technology. It forces you to keep an conversation going as you can not seek refuge on internet when conversations slows down. And this is a good thing. It is also sending out a powerful message to others – that you value spending time with them.

Secondly, I became more productive during these three days. Over 72 hours I was able to do more of the necessary things then I usually do during a full week. I was able to focus on my module readings, I red a full book cover to cover, I submitted applications for summer jobs and I planned out my days and made more of them.

And last but not least, it allowed me to have more time to do the things I truly like. When I was not super stressed over losing hours by being online for no reason, I had time both to work and play more then before. I ran and worked out every day, I took my longboard to the beach and I spent more time with my friends.

This project has definitely made me happier and although I don’t think I will be shutting down my internet access completely after, I do intend to drastically cut down on my online hours.

Day Two.

It’s day two of the wireless experiment and I have already attempted to go online twice and caught myself. First, to look for phone numbers to a bike shop to get my bike repaired and then later because I had forgotten when an event that I had been invited to through Facebook was going to take place. Internet makes things like this simple, you have a question – and internet has the answer (most of the time). Instead I had to ask one of my flatmates to look up these things for me, which made me feel like a bit of a pain.

Not having internet however makes you more focused. I have been listening to music. Just listening to music, without doing anything else. I can’t remember the last time I did that. And before bedtime yesterday I finished a book I have had on my shelf for three months by reading it cover to cover. So sleep was definitely disturbed, but at least it was not because I was stuck watching youtube clips or surfing around on Facebook

Alone Together

This is a TEDx talk by Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and sociologist, that studies how technology is shaping modern relationships. I find this talk so intriguing, because it revolves around a lot of the frustrations that I have myself about technology’s impact on our relationships.

Day One.

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Last night I killed my home internet access. It is going to be shut down for 3 days. This is already getting on my friends nerves. This morning I got a text from one of my closer friends saying “How can you shut down your internet now, we need to book the trip”. See me and my friend are going traveling to a far off place together, and since we are currently not even living in the same country, she finds my experiment extremely stressful. But I don’t.

So far, so good.

We don’t sleep when the sun goes down, we don’t waste no precious time

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(Photo from: http://www.lelalondon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Sleep-on-Animal.jpg, accsessed 11th March 2013)

A young adult is recommended to sleep for an average of seven to eight hours each night. Very few people I know actually get that amount of sleep. Could the use of technology before bedtime be to blame?

2012 Research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has shown that fatigue, stress, depression and sleep disorders in Young Adults can be linked to heavy use of technology.

 Some of the specific findings relating to sleep and the use of technology were:

  • Late night use of computers was found to disturb sleep for both men and women, consequently leading to mental health problems for both sexes.
  • The people who found being constantly accessible via mobile phone stressful, were found to be the ones in greatest risk of mental illness.
  • If a person were both a heavily user of computers and mobile phones, the association between the use and issues such as sleep depravation and metal problems were stronger.

The full study can be found here: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/28245

Perhaps it is time to reclaim our bedrooms as the time for sleep, and… well.