(Above: Dave dressed up as “Outmoded Technology Man” at a Superheroes and their Alter Egos party we went to a few years ago)
Dave and I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology/media. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, especially those who have to work with it on a daily basis. When we were first married we did (what some considered) a crazy thing and never bought a TV. Keep in mind, this was almost 10 years ago– far before Netflix, and when YouTube barely even had cat videos on it. The idea of even owning digital versions of movies or TV shows was just barely starting to become a thing. People would say everything from “Wow, I wish I could do something like that”, to “What are you going to do all day?” Well, somehow, 9.5 years later we are still alive, we still have no TV (although we do have a Netflix subscription, but it’s used mainly for our regular evening Star Trek episode) and we have generally entertained ourselves pretty well I think. Lately though–and this could be because I’m now a stay at home mom–I’ve found the internet/iPhone is eating my time up. Facebook stays on a tab on the computer and gets refreshed often, and when I have a spare moment (when Dave and I are driving and I’m bored) I’m checking instagram on my phone. And it’s become exhausting.
Here’s the thing:
I don’t think humans were meant for this kind of overload of information/constant stream of conversation.
As an introvert I especially find myself overwhelmed by the end of the day if I had spent too much time on Facebook. There’s no time for my own quiet thoughts when I’m scrolling through everyone else’s.
I’m tired of a thousand articles being shared telling me that everything that I’m eating is wrong. Do I feed my child formula? You bet. Do I eat food that contains gluten in it? I do. I’m also tired of all the facebook debates over politics/religion/whatever-the-heck that don’t actually serve any purpose. Because, for real people, do facebook debates make anyone ever feel good? Have you ever walked away from a facebook debate going “Wow, that internet stranger really changed my mind on that subject. I feel so good that we had that debate.” I’m not saying debating is bad, but I feel like most of the time internet debates get bad fast and no one wins. Because it’s easy to say something nasty on the internet when you are safe behind your computer, but it’s not so easy to go out and do something about it. Every day on the web we are inundated with a crap-load of opinions and voices. I’m not sure how our brains haven’t exploded already.
I see how damaging and addictive technology can be and it’s starting to loose it’s lustre. I used to say that I neither liked nor disliked Facebook, because for all it’s flaws I could see how valuable it was for keeping in touch with friends and family from far away. I saw that for a small business it had huge potential for advertising, especially as a photographer. The tool can’t be evil–it’s how you use the tool, right? But the problem with Facebook is that even if I’m using it just to keep up with friends and family, there’s still 300 other people on my friends list that might decide that the best way to use Facebook is to share Fox New clips. (No thank-you). Also…I don’t really want to see what everyone is commenting on. Unless a friend of mine shares it with me, why do I want to see their other conversations?
Most of all, I’m concerned over how this will affect Lucy as she grows up. If she sees that her dad and I are dependant on all our devices, she will assume that it’s only natural. I’d rather wean ourselves off of being so dependant on technology while she is young so that we never have to say “Put that phone away and spend some time with real people!” while at the same time we are itching to get on our phones.
So I have decided to start a technology wean. Dave and I have already been talking about getting rid of our smart-phones when our contract is up. In the meantime (so it won’t be such a shock) I’ve installed an app called “moment” that counts the minutes that I use the phone and when I reach a certain number (30 minutes, for example) it tells me my time is up for the day and sends me constant reminders to put my phone down. I also cleaned up my facebook newsfeed to a small amount of family/friends. Also, because I have a few ongoing projects that are shared on Facebook (project 52, for example) I plan on using it till the new year, and then I hope to only use it for business purposes. Another program that is useful is called “Self Control” where you can either “blacklist” a list of websites you don’t want to see for a set time, or “whitelist” a list of websites that will be the only available sites. You can set the time limit, and that’s it. It is a pretty crazy program though–even restarting your computer won’t shut it down!
I’m looking forward to reseting and using technology as a tool instead of a crutch and I encourage you to do the same.