Technology has some wonderful benefits. I use it almost every day. And I would never, ever argue against the responsible use of it.
However, that being said, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our world is developing an unhealthy attachment to it. Addiction to our technology and overall cell phone addiction is becoming too common:
- 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device. (source)
- 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. (source)
- Studies indicate some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes. (source)
- 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television. (source)
- Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls. (source)
- Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days (144 hours, 54 minutes) worth of time per month. (source)
- Some researchers have begun labeling “cell phone checking” as the new yawn because of its contagious nature. (source)
But we don’t need statistics to tell us we are addicted to our technology. We already know this to be true—which is probably why this powerful video has received over 13,000,000 views in less than six days (and over 51.7 million as of September 2019).
But we need to be reminded again and again: Technology addiction is powerful but it does have a power-off button. And the wisest of us know when to use it and when to take a more minimalist approach to our technology.
Consider again, just some of these important reasons to unplug:
1. Powering-down helps remove unhealthy feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness.
Researchers discovered something frightening about Facebook addiction: one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives.
Certainly, not every interaction with Facebook is a negative one. But typically, our own experience validates their research. From family happiness to body image to vacation destinations to the silly number of birthday greetings on a Facebook wall, the opportunity for envy presents itself often on social media.
Powering-down for a period of time provides an opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude for the lives we have been given. It allows us to remember how to be happy without all the screens.
2. Powering-down combats the fear of missing out.
Scientifically speaking, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has been recognized as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the massive increase in technology addiction.
The premise is simple. Our social media streams are ever-filled with everything happening all around us. Nowadays, we even see the plates of food our friends are enjoying. And within this constant stream of notification, our fear of being left out continues to grow.
Turning off social media and learning how to live in the moment are both important skills in this modern world.
3. Solitude is harder to find in an always-connected world.
Solitude grounds us to the world around us. It provides the stillness and quiet required to evaluate our lives and reflect on the message in our hearts.
In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.
4. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you.
Our world may be changing, but the true nature of life is not. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic. And the love is real. But if we are too busy staring down at our screen, we’re gonna miss all of it.