Addicted: Can You Give Up Technology?

Are you ready to enjoy what’s on offer to make your life more enjoyable without being dictated by your smartphone? Read on and take the challenge, writes Lan KB

Are we addicted to our gadgets? Especially to our smartphones? Loads have been written about how our kids (and, adults too) are spending hours after hours, happily staring away at their smartphones. It appears as if our daily activities revolve around these gadgets.

While everyone has been talking about the perils of such a behaviour, not many have actually done anything about it. One person had tried to do something – to save her students – and have written about her success here.

This is what teacher Alice Lurain has to say:

“One day last January, my classroom buzzed with nervous energy as 15 teenagers prepared to lock their smartphones in a cabinet and swear off all Internet use for the next two weeks. The ceremony kicked off a class I taught called Logging Off. During the rest of the school year, I teach high school chemistry, but this mini-course gave my students and me an opportunity to examine the role of technology in our lives.

 When the time came to power down, many students were eager to be free of their phones, while others clutched their devices like a favourite stuffed animal. Their emotions seemed to range from worry (“How will I talk with my friends?”) to anticipation (“I can’t wait to read more books”). Personally, I hoped to clarify my own intentionally analog existence: Despite teasing from my friends and family, I still use a flip phone.”

What happened next?

Over the next few days, the students identified a surprising source of anxiety. Without their phones, they weren’t sure what to do when there was nothing to do.

“Toward the end of the course, my students began to talk about the beauty of time slowing down.”

Shift in outlook

According to Alice, towards the end of the experiment, she noted a shift in the students’ outlook.

Interestingly, their anxiety about unsettling lulls faded, and they began to talk about the beauty of time slowing down.

Check this out – they actually went for walks, composed music, and played board games with younger siblings. They experienced life in the moment instead of swiping and tapping through it.

“On the last day, when I returned the devices, I expected the kids to power up immediately and go straight to social media. Instead, many of them left the classroom with screens still dark, saying they wanted to see how long they could wait.”

Better choices

After the experiment, Alice says the brief respite from near-constant connectivity has shown her students that they have a choice in what to do in their downtime, while they’re waiting in line for coffee or walking home.

“I hope that between checking Snapchat and cropping selfies for Instagram, they pause long enough to seize the precious chance to daydream.”

Well, there you go! How many of us would now like to try to have some downtime without our gadgets, and start enjoying our existence?