Go ahead and try to ignore that text. Or switch off the phone. For many of us, being attached to the internet and social media is as fundamental as food.
7-Sep-20 If you think that you arent emotionally and psychologically connected to your phone, tablet, computer, and cable/internet hookup, youre kidding yourself. Try a quick digital cleanse and see just how long you last and how painful the experience is.
When they update the psychiatric literature about this period in our civilization, expect one big change in Maslows traditional hierarchy of needs, which used to stack five primary requirements: bodily needs, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Among other things that the COVID-19 pandemic and WFH have made clear is that the new Maslow pyramid will have to make room for the massive impact that technology and social media have had on every part of our lives. Its pretty clear that web access will be foundational to the new rankings because continuous connection has become unimaginably essential and central to our lives and bears directly on virtually every one of the prior behavioral tiers in Maslows analysis.
Sustenance, security, society, reputation, and fulfillment are all intimately intertwined these days in our interactions with our devices and largely unavoidable and inescapable.
Ask yourself whether you think its really worth working out if your Fitbit isnt charged and tracking your efforts. Steps that arent measured and promptly synced are like trees falling in the forest. You cant share and smirk about what the system cant see. So, whats the point?
To give you some quick idea of how extensive the problem is in case you didnt suffer any cable or power outages recently, misplace a phone, or fail to sufficiently charge your devices try these simple experiments. But first a word of warning. These endurance tests are for mature adults only. Do not try to impose any of these harsh and harrowing hardships on any of your kids. Theyre just not up to the task, theyll crack like an egg, and theyll hate you for at least a week.
These are all time-based tests and I sincerely hope that you still have a clock somewhere in your house to let you know when the allotted intervals are up, because you cant use your phone or any other connected device on your wrist to check. And dont even think about asking Alexa to set a timer.
If you still have a landline phone that rings during the tests, dont sweat it the call will be a telemarketer, scam artist, or pollster who will most assuredly call back. Or maybe a recorded reminder message from Walgreens or FedEx, but for sure, it wont be any of your friends calling because they no longer have any idea of what your home phone number is or used to be. And frankly, youd also be hard-pressed yourself to recall so many of those old familiar numbers that you used to know like the back of your hand.
When you dont use it, its amazing how quickly you lose it. Were forfeiting more and more of these human skills to the machines every day. Remembering, navigating, spelling, writing in cursive, etc., are all largely gone. Most kids today cant write legibly or even clearly sign their names. And if they have any remaining use for a phone book, dictionary, or other weighty tome, its mainly to sit on top of so they can reach the kitchen table.
Silence and store your devices somewhere out of sight and sound for 30 minutes sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Seems like anyone should be able to do without their devices for half an hour without freaking out, but youll be distressingly surprised at just how hard it is to accomplish even this woefully modest level of withdrawal. Were all in a hurry. Were all intertwined, like it or not, much closer to 24/7 than we ever wanted to be. And being without even for a short interval produces a lot more anxiety and discomfort than youd expect.
Of course, docs and Moms and cops and stock traders can all rationalize the need to be instantly and always available, but its a far more physical and emotional need than any vocational requirement. This is not just a convenience or a comfort but more like a compulsion and, for our kids, its becoming inbred.
Sit alone and quietly in a chair for 20 minutes without looking at your phone, screen, or other device.
Forget just the ongoing angst of FOMO. Were talking here about trying to overcome craftily manufactured addictions, cravings of which are just as fierce as cigarettes were for so many stupid people in the past. Grabbing a smoke used to be not just something for nervous folks to do with their hands, or a carcinogenic diet aide for young women, but also an actual pacifier. Sucking on a cancer stick was cool and calming if you didnt care about your lungs or your future.
Today, you grab and check your phone with exactly the same kind of urgency and for much the same reasons. It will even make you much more patient in terms of waiting in line or online.
Zoning out in front of the TV used to be a simple salve for sleepy couch potatoes, but now scrolling through social media serves up a slicker, swifter, and more satisfying solution. And, of course, you can always multitask and do both at the same time while pretending as well that youre listening to your spouses or significant others ongoing commentary. Best of all, you can tell yourself that in some bizarre fashion youre also being productive.
Resist the temptation to look at your phone or computer for ten minutes after you hear the ring, bing, or bong from a text, email, call, or tweet.
If you think your dogs are occasionally Pavlovian, just take a quick gander at your friends and family members when their phones ring, bing, or bong. And youre most likely no better at resisting the sirens call regardless of what you happen to be doing at the time. You can think of this process as cellular interruptus. Its hard not to be distracted every time you hear that ding.
Were suckers for those sounds even though were inevitably let down when we actually check it out. Turns out that once again today no one except a few Nigerians was texting to let you know that youd inherited a million bucks from a long-lost relative. But that wont keep you from doing the same silly thing the very next time. Were like the dog chasing the car and cant really help ourselves.
Were seeing over and over again that we dont understand or appreciate how powerful and controlling technologies can be in our lives until its too late to turn back or try to restrict their influence. The battle of the mobile phone is long lost. We cant live without them. Maybe if we act soon, we can save our kids from the sickness and stains of social media.