There is a massive issue that we need to all be made aware of and address.
Ok, so it's not really about 'Netflix & Chill'.. but let me ask you something. How often do you settle down for Netflix & Chill, or to watch TV or a movie, and merely 5-10 minutes in, you or someone you're with are on the mobile?
How many of us at school, or at work, are picking up our phones instead of concentrating on the work at hand?
How many of us take our phone to the toilet in order to 'not be bored'?
I know I am highly guilty of such addictive behaviour, aren't you? And can you blame us? In the past two decades our technological knowledge and devices have advanced so vastly, that now we literally have the world at our fingertips!
At the touch of a screen, we have instant access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Messenger. All pathways to expression, discussion, conversation and of course the socially accepted version of stalking each others lives!
We can ask our phone anything! And thanks to the connection of the Internet, we will find an answer.
There are millions of games and apps sitting there ready and waiting to entertain us, and we can document our lives through photo and film so there is not need to flex our memory too hard.
Yet, this technological advancement is not as golden as it's made out to be.
Although there are hundreds of positives to owning a modern day touch screen mobile phone, there are some terrifying negatives to tip the scales back.
The first issue I would like to address with you is the obvious, and that is addiction.
How long can you go without touching your phone? How long is it before that little niggle creeps into the back of your brain?
If you can go days without a second thought, then congratulations! You have made it this far through life resisting a major side-effect of the modern age!
If, however, it's more like somewhere around a few hours or less... then it may be worth considering making some serious changes to combat this addictive behaviour.
According to a study taken by dscout, an average user will touch their phone 2,617 times a day, and a heavy user will touch their phone 5,427 times a day! This includes tapping, typing, swiping and clicking. Isn't that insane?!
All you need to do is walk through town and you can see everyone glued to their phones! People keep saying it, the zombie apocalypse is here! It's just not the violent flesh eating virus we thought it would be but it's victims are just as brain dead...
A more disturbing and important point to realize when looking at modern societies addiction to smartphones, is to look at what the 'tech elites' actions and opinions when it comes to the devices they've developed for us..
Bill Gates, when speaking about restricting his families use of technology has been reported to say "We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour."
Steve Jobs, when asked if his kids enjoyed the ipad, replied "They haven't used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home."
Alice Thomson has written articles on kids addiction to smartphone technology and Tech billionaire parenting commenting how
"Melina Gate's children don't have smartphones and only use a computer in the kitchen. Her husband Bill spends hours in his office reading books while everyone else is refreshing their homepage. The most sought-after private school in Silicon Valley, the Waldolf School of the Peninsula, bans electronic devices for the under-11s and teaches the children of eBay, Apple, Uber and Doodle staff to make go-karts, knit and cook. Mark Zuckerberg wants his daughters to read Dr Seuss and play outside rather than use Messenger Kids. Steve Jobs strictly limited his children's use of technology at home.
It's astonishing if you think about it: the more money you make out of the tech industry, the more you appear to shield your family from its effects."
Paul Lewis reports on how some of the workers who made the technology of our beloved social media so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the Internet in 'Our minds can be hijacked: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia.'
It truly is like our smartphones have become a part of us. Do you feel like you're missing a limb if you go anywhere without your phone?
I was mortified when I discovered that in some major cities around the world, they are installing ground level traffic light systems because the public are so glued to their phones that the act of crossing the road and looking where you're going - if you're about to be run over or collide with a cyclist or even another pedestrian, has become too much like hard work..
This issue goes much much deeper, it seeps into the psychological where someone can develop ever increasing levels of depression and anxiety all connected to their phone addiction.
The other issue I would like to bring to your attention is the one of boredom, and more specifically, the importance of boredom in our lives.
You may not know, even less think about it, but boredom is a pretty vital aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How you may ask? Well let's break it down just a little:
Boredom feeds creativity:
When you are bored, your mind is allowed to wander. It's a lot like meditation, in fact you could argue that meditation is induced boredom. You get bored, not because you have 'nothing to do', but more because the none of the options you have at the time appeal to you. Most people do not like the 'state of boredom'. It is a state of being thoroughly underwhelmed, of being lethargic and unable to concentrate. Many people can associate the 'state of boredom' with feelings of tremendous loneliness. And this of course can lead swiftly to anxiety, depression and other negative mental states.
Yet, when you let your mind wander you truly help it expand into new possibilities. A study was done to test, 'Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative?' by giving people a random task, all varying in it's level of how boring it would be to do, then asking them to be creative- how many uses can you come up with for this plastic cup? And the results showed that those in the most boring task generated the most creative solutions.
Boredom urges us to act:
If you find yourself consistently bored in a situation, then it should be obvious that being in that situation is not working out for you. That you have to act, and make the effort to change the situation you're in until you're somewhere that grips your attention. It can spur you to make positive changes to your life!
If you constantly distract yourself from boredom when you're in a place you're not satisfied with, then you have nothing motivating you to change your situation. You become stagnant and ponder about feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. You may not even realize what it is that is making you feel this way because you keep distracting your mind from figuring it out! Keeping yourself distracted can be a lot like suffocating your brain.
Boredom can promote altruism:
Being altruistic is basically performing selfless deeds. It could be giving blood, giving to charity, participating in a community event or teaching someone when there is no direct reward for you (like money). And studies have shown that boredom can promote altruism in people. As well as momentarily making you question what you're doing with your life at times, or why you are still doing that job you hate etc, it can also trigger you to think of others and what you could be doing to have a positive influence on them, which can offer a significant purpose especially if you momentarily feel you are lacking one in your life.
Boredom makes you think of the future and your life direction:
Being bored can be essential for goal setting, because it can make you think about the future and all of the possibilities, but more importantly once you ponder on where you would like to end up, you can structure a clear plan of how to get there.
The more I learn about modern technology and it's effects on us as a society and as individuals, the more concern it raises within me. I do not think it is the only cause, but it is certainly a huge piece in the puzzle that has lead us to higher rates of mental illness and even suicide. And that's terrifying! I mean think about it, there is no real reason for you to leave your house. You can get jobs where you work at home. You can get pretty much ANYTHING delivered right to your doorstep! You can speak to anyone you please within an instant by the touch of a button or a click of a mouse. Is it really any wonder why more and more people are developing issues with going outside into 'the real world' and interacting with other humans?!
But all is not lost. The modern day technological zombie virus has a cure! It may start with small steps. Limiting our time on smartphones and even in front of the TV and computers. Reading more, drawing more, meditation and just letting our minds wonder into that beautiful state of boredom. Getting out and about, using our bodies- our legs and our arms. Fighting the addiction we have to technology and going to a friends house or meeting at a cafe for a coffee and a natter where no phones are allowed. And most importantly NOT entertaining our children with smartphones and ipad games when we want a quick fix to dealing with a bored child, because we truly are hurting them mentally in the long term by using these methods!