How attached are you to your smartphone, apps, games, and social media accounts?
It’s rude to text while you’re with other people. Many would argue that it’s downright antisocial that someone would be on their phone at all while “spending time with” another actual living, breathing person. We all know this to be true, yet a great majority of us are guilty of it. Is checking Facebook for the 2039482308th time or sending a string of emojis in a mindless text “conversation” really that important? Of course not. Especially when you consider what it may cost you. The people you’re supposed to be having actual interactions with, the ones sitting right in front of you, will be offended, and likely a little hurt that they are taking second place to a tiny piece of technology; especially if it is a repeat offense. Keep this behavior up, throw in a steady decline in real life social skills, and you might just find yourself in a real “Her” (the movie, btw) situation. Awkward. So, let’s all take a breath, put down the phones, and realize that “unplugging” for a few hours really won’t kill anyone. Promise.
Here are three easy ways to start giving your technology some “space.”
1. The easiest way to start weaning yourself off of your tech addiction is to designate times that you will NOT be using it. For example, unless it’s extremely urgent, turn off your cell phone (or at least silence it) for a few hours starting right when you get home from work. If you truly need to be reached, set your work (or whatever other number that number needs to reach you) ring and text tone to something very distinctively different than your usual ringtones. Unless you hear that specific tone or alert, don’t pick it up. Having even a little bit of time to yourself will do wonders to help you relax, unwind, and get some coveted time to spend with others face to face.
2. In a group and out to dinner or at someone’s house? To prevent rogue texters from falling back into their text-aholic tendencies, stack everyone’s phones on a table, face down. Make sure they are all on silent, and for the rest of the night, no one touches them. The first one to cave owes the rest of the group a round of drinks (…or dinner, or concert tickets, or $50, or…).
3. Turn your phone ALL the way off sometimes. Use a real alarm clock, check your reminders before you go to bed, and power it down. It’s good for your phone AND for you.
Like reliance on anything else, toning down the texting and making time for the actual people in your life will probably take time and a lot of practice. But start small, keep working on it, and you will feel so much better being (even just a little bit) more “unplugged.”