Have you ever been to a dinner party or gone out to a restaurant and looked around at other people? How many times were they all glued to their cell phones when there was a lag in conversation? Many times, this is the case. We use our technology as an avenue of entertainment and route to forego awkwardness or boredom. I myself struggle with this. I tend to gravitate towards my devices when I have breaks throughout my day. With that time I could be doing more productive things. This was our focus for this week, mindfulness on the internet.
In regards to myself, I think I use technology mindfully most of the time, but not all. Maybe close to three fourths mindfully, one fourth not. Much of my time online involves doing homework for my classes. Otherwise, it is just a time filler. Not good. I think much of my inattentive time comes from scrolling through social media like Facebook and Twitter. I have just downloaded the Moment app, but haven’t really looked at it yet.
When learning about technology mindfulness, I watched a TED Talk about someone who quit using the internet for a whole year! The video is at the bottom of the post. I found that so interesting! Without technology being a distraction there would be so much time to be creative and have fun! This is discussed in an article that I read: Bored… And Brilliant? A Challenge to Disconnect from your Phone. This article shows a study that found that “spacing out inspires creativity and deep contemplation.” This brings to mind the picture that I had at the beginning of my post. Yes, I think it is a bit harsh, but I think there is some truth and value to it. To be a true intellectual or poet or anything on that list, you have to be that in real life, not just online.
I would love to quit using the internet and my technological devices like my computer and IPod, if I did not need them for school. I think I would have loads more time for more creative projects and more quality time with family and friends.
One question posed in this lesson is ‘When do we need to stop multi-tasking?’ I find this question very interesting because I have learned that no one can actually multi-task. The physical act of doing multiple things at once cannot really be done. Sure we can all do two projects at relatively the same time. I can listen to music while writing an essay, but I don’t really absorb what music is playing until I stop focusing on my essay briefly to switch songs or sing along. We have become very good at switching from one task to the next quickly which makes it seem like we can multi-task. Back on topic, we should stop ‘multi-tasking’ when it impedes our ability to perform the tasks proficiently.
When tethered to our devices, we lose our sense of identity and authenticity. We think our lives are in our devices, when we should be out living our lives. Some articles I read explain that there are negative effects of being on technology for too long like this Huffington Post article. It described that when you are on Facebook for more than 20 minutes, you become sadder. A Mind Shift article described a lesson where students gave up their devices for three days. This was interesting to see how students felt about giving up technology.
From this lesson, I learned that although technology is great for many things, too much technology can be detrimental. We need to focus on our priorities and focus on them. Don’t let the internet get in the way. I hope to be able to quit using the internet for an extended amount of time, but for now I will try to simplify my internet usage. The article Simplify the Internet from Zen Habits has great tips for ways of simplifying your internet usage.