It’s no secret: I am a technology addict. I check my emails before I say good morning to my partner. I can’t go to the bathroom without my phone. I know how dangerous it is to drive and text, and yet I can’t help myself. I feel compelled to always have something electronic in my hands – smartphone, iPad, laptop, desktop, PS2 controller, Kindle – something that ‘connects’ me to the Internet or my social networks.
Is technology hurting me by making life easier or is it just evolution at work? Does technology help me achieve my goals or does it hinder me from reaching my full potential?
While I am a huge fan of technology and its enormous benefits, I also recognize that has its drawbacks. On the one hand, Google makes it easier to find information and share documents with others, and GPS technology allows us to get to a location without getting lost. On the other hand, technology has allowed us to break up by text message, made driving more dangerous, and in the words of Mrs Dwyer (my year 11 English teacher), “has corrupted the English language and basic social etiquette”. Her classes may have been awfully boring but she did have a point – some of us have become so used to relying on technology that we forget how to act in a world void of it.
Lately I have started to consider reducing how much time I spend using technology. I would like to see what life is like if I lowered my usage to a level that others would consider ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’. The question is how? Technology has enabled me to find and do things almost instantaneously. As a result I’m addicted to the quick fix and therefore trying to change a habit is really difficult. So this got me thinking, instead of trying hypnosis or acupuncture or pure will power, maybe I could use technology to wean myself off technology? Bear with me.
I usually never click on online banner adverts, but I recently came across a nifty little idea that ‘magically’ appeared on my Facebook Feed – Promise or Pay. As far as I understand it, you make a promise to do something and share it using your social networks. By sharing your promise with others there is some degree of accountability and you are more likely to do whatever it is you promise to do. If you keep your promise that’s great! If you break your promise, you donate a certain amount of money to charity. Whatever happens there is a positive outcome – I like that. It’s a straightforward but potent concept. The website hasn’t yet launched and I’m not sure it will be enough to weaken a tech zealot like myself, but I figure it’s worth a shot. And if I fail at least I’ll be doing some good anyway.
For the most part I think technology is awesome. However, when digital devices start taking up too much of your life, maybe it’s time to switch off and enjoy life unplugged. When it’s a beautiful day and you find yourself basking in the glow of your tablet instead of the sun – maybe it’s time to change things up. If you find yourself incapable of untangling the wires and escaping the electronic world, maybe it’s time to promise or pay.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Michael Mandiberg