I treated myself to a proper digital detox this weekend when we headed to Exter to see friends and family.
The fact is, we are addicted to our mobile phones. If it’s close we constantly have to fight the urge to pick it up. It’s always there in the back of our minds using up valuable brain energy. It’s kind of scary when you think about it.
I realized how addicted I was myself a few months ago and I decided to see if I could beat my addiction with a set of strict rules. I only allowed myself to have my phone on me during my “work hours” in the mornings and at night. So whenever I spent time with Ace, I would just leave it in my bag. This way I could focus on him and only him.
As with any addiction, it’s really easy to make excuses to why we have to “quickly do this small thing…” on our phones. So I made sure to carry my little camera with me. In case Ace did something cute that I really had to take a photo or make a clip of. Because I noticed that the excuse of taking photos became a gateway to scroll my Instagram feed…
Only yesterday I picked up my phone to quickly google a recipe and found myself liking photos on Instagram. Say what? I didn’t even notice my fingers hitting the Instagram icon! It just happened so quickly and it actually scared me a bit.
So this weekend I kept my phone in my suitcase the whole time. I kept the volume on during the day, just in case someone needed me for an emergency. But I also relied on people calling Garth in case they really had to get hold of me.
I do feel like I have got digital addiction under control these days. I can stay off my phone for long periods of time without missing it and I only bring it out when I actually need it for work or to contact someone. I have noticed that it has freed up my time massively. I didn’t even realize how much time I spent scrolling away. Now I use that time to read books instead and I feel nourished in a completely different way.
My beloved hubby is still stuck in the scrolling-swamp though. I’m trying to get him to put down his phone now and then, but it takes a lot of effort and clever tricks from my side. As soon as I see him pick his phone up and start scrolling, I make sure to ask him to help me with something that will take up all of his attention. So far he hasn’t cottoned on.. but we will see how long it lasts. My ideal would be for us both to be able to leave our phones in the living room at night. This will be my goal for the next few months.
I often think about how we are going to relate to these things in the future. How we will think “OMG, did we really do that?!” about things that we see as completely normal now. Like smoking inside in the 80s. My Mom sat amongst us kids on the sofa, going through her packs of yellow “Blend”, not having a clue that it could affect anyone else than herself. Obviously now, we know better.
I predict that sugar, alcohol and screens will be 3 of the things that we will have realized is really bad for us in the future.
However, I don’t think it’s actually social media that is dangerous, only the way we are using it at the moment. A big part of the addiction to scrolling is all the information we can access really quickly. Our brains don’t even get the chance to focus before we move on to the next thing. This is one of the reasons I prefer to read blogs and posts that will actually pique my interest. I want something more than a pretty picture.
I have actually completely changed the way I use Instagram and these days I follow mainly people who are using their captions well. There are sooo many great photos out there, but great texts are a lot harder to find. I want to experience things to relate to, something thought provoking that makes me feel stuff. Something more than “nice picture, like, next“.
I do feel that Instagram is focusing more and more on captions and moving media now. So I do hope the days of scrolling is numbered. I myself really like to watch IGTV and I’m quite keen to produce more moving material to publish there and on Facebook watch. To be able to actually say something real and make an impact. The tricky thing with clips on-the-go is the sound. It’s not always it’s appropriate to blast sound out of your phone…
If I’m going to put my valuable time into social media then I really want it to feed me in some way. I want an interesting caption, an informative video or something that exercises my mental muscles a bit. That’s when social media is amazing. The rest just feels like a massive waste of our time.
This is pretty much what #MINDFLUENCING is about. How we can choose to use social media in a healthy and inspirational way.
What do you prefer? Scroll photos, read captions? Se little clips on stories, longer videos on IGTV, YouTube or Facebook watch? Sound on/off?
Photo – Ida Zander for #MINDFLUENCING. Location – Megan’s Clapham Commo