Smart phones, aka pocket internet browsers, are bad for us in a lot of ways.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the internet. Without it, we couldn’t convert fahrenheit to celsius right there in the kitchen, or read handy articles on which Disney prince has the best butt (still disappointed by the winner there #teamLiShang). But it’s true – I don’t believe many of us are going to reach the end of our lives and think “man, I just didn’t spend enough time on Facebook.”’
While I’m not addicted to my phone (I can happily go without it on holidays, and if it’s flat I don’t freak out) but if it’s there I have a very bad (and very strong) habit of picking it up and scrolling endlessly through various social media apps.
One of my 2015 new year’s resolutions was to look at my phone less. Here are a couple of reasons why…
It’s bad for your eyesight.
I don’t know if today’s kids with their flat screen LCDs are told not to sit too close to the TV, but I know when I was their age, mum told me it would hurt my eyes. Opticians have said that constantly reading a smart phone is worse. The light emitted from your phone is blue violet light, over exposure to which is toxic to your eyes and can lead to macular degeneration. Not fun.
You could miss out on making a friend, or more.
I met Brandon when I was sitting by myself at a party. It was 2009 and our phones couldn’t really do anything cool yet, so I was just drinking water (promise) and laughing at my friends dancing. But if I’d had the phone I had now, I probably would’ve been playing Angry Birds and he wouldn’t have come over to say hi.
I’m not saying we should spark up a conversation with every stranger on the bus – lots of commuters are tired and cranky and just want to be left alone, myself included. But how many of us whip out our phones when our friends temporarily leave us in a party full of strangers? It’s a social occasion. It’s time to put it away.
This video sums it up. If you’re not one for poetry, mute it – you’ll still get the story.
It can make us look stupid
We’ve all been that person who has run into a pole, fallen down the last step or maybe just missed a really good joke because we’d rather be on Facebook than aware of our surroundings.
It wreaks havoc on our attention spans.
I know I’m not the only one guilty of reading a text or scrolling through Instagram while watching a movie. We might tell ourselves it’s multitasking, but really we’re making ourselves fall out of practice at focussing on one thing. Jury is still out on whether it’s worse for the old or young – earlier generations haven’t grown up with the technology so they find it harder to adapt, but those kids you see with iPhone’s may be developing differently.
The world is beautiful.
Read about the sunset that inspired me to put down my phone in this blog post, and then find your own.
A little scary, right? Luckily it’s fairly easy to get over the dependence or habit. Here are a couple of tips:
1. Cold turkey – go on holiday without it. It’s easier if you go camping somewhere with no phone service so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
2. Fight the urge to check emails or social media as soon as you wake up – get up and make a cup of tea first, so that it doesn’t become such a huge part of your routine.
3. If you commute, take a book or magazine to read on the trip.
4. Keep your phone in a drawer at work – if it’s not within view you’ll be less likely to pick it up.
5. When you get home, put it on charge and walk away. Turn up the volume so that you can hear it ring if necessary, and do all emails/social media etc on your computer where possible. It’s amazing how much quicker you’ll get everything done without it.
6. Pay more attention to your surroundings when you’re walking – read signs, look in shop windows… entertain yourself so that you don’t feel the need to read your phone.
Are you addicted to your smart phone? Do you have any tips for overcoming it, or do you think we’re all making a big fuss out of nothing? I’d love to hear!