Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Social Media Obsession - Survival in the Digital World

We are presently living in the digital world. Constantly updating statuses, posting tweets, and uploading pictures. Distracting our brains from what is really going on around us. I am as guilty of this as anybody. I have an obsession with my phone and laptop, I have trouble staying away from them for prolonged periods of time. By doing this we aren't letting ourselves fully live in the present. Whether it be putting out content for the world to see ourselves or scrolling through feeds to see what other people are doing. We feel the need to share everything we are doing at all times. Besides the sharing aspect there is communication with other people. The majority of our communications have become via text messages or other forms of internet communication. Nowadays the distractions are plenty, almost every social media platform has an option for private messaging. Gone are the days where we have to plan in advance to meet up at specific locations in order to catch up with real conversation. It is so much easier if we just text or talk on the phone right? As convenient as the phone and social media is, a problem arises when we become reliant on them. The majority of us have fallen in this trap. 

My friend and I were observing our own friend group who can’t sit at a dinner without snapchatting or looking around and seeing someone on their phone texting during a conversation, we’ve become obsessed! If this is how we are living our lives, not in the present but through the digital world how is that healthy for our mental state and social life? I have read that our generation lacks empathy because we don’t have to look at each other and have real conversations in the present. This in turn detaches us from feelings and emotions towards each other.  How can we teach ourselves to live our lives in the digital world while living in the present? Although it is not possible for us to disengage from online activity completely, there are a few things we can do in order to keep ourselves at least semi-sane! 

Balance - It is fun to snapchat or instagram pictures of our present activity, but maybe not everyday. We should try and keep a balance between sharing our lives and keeping aspects of it private. The more we get in the habit of this the less obligated we will feel to showcase every second. 

Putting phones away during dinners - This is going to be a hard one. I want to be more present in my everyday life in general. I feel as though I am always on my phone even when I could be spending time with my family or being productive. We need to learn to keep up engaging conversations and allowing ourselves to look at our phones during them does not help. Maybe everyone should put away their devices and talk to each other! I love those signs that say "No wifi, talk to each other". Even though I'm the first one who would wonder what kind of place doesn't have wifi - guilty.  

Social media cleanse - I've heard people go about doing social media cleanses differently. Some do it occasionally while others incorporate it into their everyday lives. It may be different depending on lifestyles and work but it is a good thing to take part in. For me I think taking out at least an hour out of my day to put away my devices is possible. While an hour sounds like nothing, knowing that I have not allowed myself internet access is the part I struggle with. I have become to accustomed to doing it without thinking that I need this break in my day to remind myself of what is really important. I would like to try a whole day without the internet in the summer after school is done and see how it benefits me. 

It is all about reminding ourselves who and what is actually important and where we need to invest our time. I hope these ideas helped! Please comment and share your thoughts and ideas. Thank you as always for reading! :) 

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