Is there a light at the end of the backlight tunnel?
Mobile technology’s ability has expanded at an astonishing rate, which we could only have dreamt of a couple of decades ago. Growing up in the early 2000s, I remember hijacking my mum’s first mobile phone and drafting texts to imaginary recipients, filling up the memory with five SMS messages.
Since the first iPhone hit retailers ten years ago, the market has gone on to fulfil many needs beyond communication. Within seconds you can find out how to get from point a to point b, manage work, or find a great spot to head out to.
While this is all extremely useful, recently the extent of society’s mobile phone use has left me increasingly concerned. Soon I wonder if we’ll forget how to communicate without a qwerty keyboard or fail to express emotion when a wall of emojis isn’t in front of us.
We start our day looking at our phones instead of a much more gratifying clear-skied morning. Strangers engrossed in their screens on the bus or while they try to navigate a busy junction is a normal sight on our commute. Free wifi is a deal breaker for deciding where to spend your cash on a caffeine fix.
Now that the majority of us wield phones with digital cameras embedded in them, at events we feel inclined to enjoy the experience through the screen of our phones. If you don’t document your weekend antics on Instagram stories, did it even happen? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with capturing life’s moments to remember in the future. You may have waited years to grab a ticket to see a legendary musician or paid a lot of hard-earned cash to attend.
It’s brilliant we can do a multitude of things with one device, but to enjoy the real world you have to stay aware of your use and actively prevent it from taking over.
Aside from slipping your device into aeroplane mode, one way to cut down on the constant rotation of applications is to try some apps. Yes, really. Checky measures how many times you check your phone, while others like Moment track your usage and allows you to set limits.
Don’t let the magnetic pull of your phone let you miss out on conversations, new places or charging through your to-do list.
Stop yourself from checking social media to no avail. Leave your phone in your pocket at a restaurant. Put your phone on do not disturb mode when you want to be productive. Read a book before bedtime and grab anything but your phone the moment you wake up – helped by reinstating your trusty bedside alarm clock to its former glory.
As I always like to remind myself: electricity or the internet may not thrive forever, make sure you can without it.