My name is Rosa and I was an iphonaholic.
It all started in 2012 when I received my first iPhone 4. I was obsessed, a 16 year-old with access to a whole new world. I genuinely felt that having this configuration of metal and glass actually made me a cooler person. I lived for the notification that someone had ‘liked’ my instagram, the vibration showing that someone had laughed at my attempt at humour on snapchat, or the ding that revealed that someone had appreciated my status update on facebook. The worst part of all of this is that I didn’t, even for a second, realise how ridiculously unhealthy this was.
About halfway through 2017 I moved to the UK to complete a study abroad year in Brighton. I had with me my trusty iphone 6 packed full of apps that allowed me to feel connected with the world. One morning I woke up, and the phone was broken. To start with I was actually excited, I thought, ‘this is my chance to cleanse myself of technology,’ however after about 2 days of excitement over this new freedom, I freaked. I will happily sit here and say that I was well and truly addicted to my phone and to social media, I was obsessed with the sense of acceptance that my many forms of social media gave me, I loved the false sense of happiness I got when someone appreciated something that I had posted; looking back I am actually embarrassed by how caught up I was.
I decided that getting a new smartphone was a bad idea, and although now, 6 months later, I do have a new smartphone, the time without it taught me a lot. I genuinely displayed withdrawal symptoms; a need to check facebook, a desperation to flick through my friends’ instagram stories, a longing to update my snapchat, however after about 2 weeks, this all subsided, and I realised how truly unhealthy our attachment to social media is. Who are we posting for? Why do we feel the need to show every part of our day on all of these social platforms? Why can’t we travel to a new place and NOT update everyone about the #serenity that we are enjoying?
Let’s talk about the uneasy feeling we get when we don’t reply to a message immediately. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes when I get a message, I feel that I MUST reply immediately, or that if I leave it too long, the person sending me the message will think I don’t care about them, or that I’m ignoring them. The fact that I feel this way makes it incredibly hard to switch off both my mind and my many devices. At the end of the day I know that my friends do know how much I love and appreciate them, with or without speedy replies, so why do I feel this stress when I don’t respond instantly? My brain has become wired to demand instant results, and it’s scary how much this urge for immediacy is engrained in not only my mind, but our culture.
I can offer no solution to this culture, but I do try myself to limit my time on social media, especially after living without a smartphone for 6 months, by deleting the apps, or at least muting the notifications that I get from apps. After discussing this with my housemates, we decided to have a tech-free hour every evening so that we can connect with each other, rather than aimlessly scrolling through our own social media platforms. So I propose that we put our phones, laptops and tablets down and engage in each other’s lives, talk to each other face-to-face and work on the relationships we have with people through verbal communication instead living in a virtual world with little to no direct human contact.
Spread good vibes pals xxx