No, I’m not talking about the recent spate of people eating homeless men’s faces off – and by the way – eewww.
I recently read an article that talked about how our addictions to technology are making us depressed, stupid and brain dead. It’s turning us into mind numb addicts where we can’t focus or concentrate unless we are starting at a screen.
At first I laughed, as I read the article from my iPad before getting out of bed for the day. Come on, I had to check my emails, rss feeds, and twitter account otherwise I might miss out on something – it had been at least 7 hours since I last checked – anything could have happened to the world while I slept. Something important like my brother liking the photo I put on Facebook. Important stuff people!
When I finally woke up properly, and stumbled to grab my morning coffee it got me thinking. Have I become a zombie to technology? Surely not.
So I tried to go 24 hours without iPad/television/computer/radio – basically anything entertainment technology related. There is no way I was going without the dishwasher or the coffee machine. That’s just crazy talk.
After the first hour I was getting fidgety. I REALLY wanted to check my email and my Amazon account. All I could think about was getting back online. I could think of nothing else.
Email … Facebook … website … Google … brains … eergh … slurp.
I lasted two hours before I had to get my fix again. I simply couldn’t do it.
The article talked about how technology addiction actually stimulates the brain the same way substance addiction does, by making the frontal cortex swell, and other parts of the brain atrophy since they are no longer being used. In essence – it really IS killing parts of our brain. This wasn’t just someone’s opinion – this is really happening inside our heads. Scary stuff. Teenagers and children are being affected worse – no doubt since they have lived all of their lives with technology. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.
I don’t know what the solution to this problem will be. Technology is now so much part of our culture and has pervaded everyone’s lives, I can’t see how we can avoid it frankly. And personally I DON’T WANT TO AVOID IT. But I also don’t want to be a technology addicted zombie either. So what’s the answer?
My personal decision has to simply reduce the number of hours I spend online and watching television. Scheduling works well for me. I set a specific time now, twice per day to check my email. Usually that’s once in the morning, and once in the evening. That way I know I just need to wait it out a bit longer. And I limit television to specific shows I want to watch, rather than just having it on all the time. I’m still working on limiting computer time, since I need to write my books on it. But setting specific hours helps.
I’ve also made a conscious effort to get outside. To walk around the neighborhood. To say hello to REAL people. It’s amazing the difference it makes.
This really does get easier after a few days, and right now I’m starting to feel again.
I’m feeling less zombie’ish and more human. But not normal. I NEVER want to be normal. :)