ON / OFF
There is still only «24 hours in one day»!
So how much has our digital world activity absorbed our natural world
Here is our deep concern about technology time off today following some food for thought brought in by this interesting INTEF ON / OFF training course, which I found that fully supports the original idea of this blog. Or is the world not actually going like Moby & The Void Pacific Choir pictures it…
Ms María Brena and Mr Use Pastrana explain clearly that technologies offer a universe of entertainment, interaction, learning and communication, as well as enormous potential for information and connection. An inexhaustible boundless universe that generates communities and links, in which we don’t seem to feel alone. An open world that never closes where we can enjoy 24 hours every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A place where we could stay for life.
Some of the characteristics of social networks such as the capacity for immediate interaction and the response in the form of likes or retweets which can also be read as an indicator of our social success can make social networks tremendously addictive. In terms of the breadth of our social circle and the depth of the impact that our publications achieve in this circle – texts, photos, stories, or videos.
Technological life seems to be progressively separating us from physical reality offering a new virtual environment. We may then consider how to find some balance so that our ability to enjoy what we experience in our physical environment and our own physicality doesn’t get affected by virtual environments but rather complemented.
When is it convenient for yourself to make digital disconnections
We can almost permanently be connected nowadays. Even with strangers. But do we not long for those times when there was no need to go online.
Behaviours have widely been observed in social networks and there is reflecting on what could be called dependence on immediate interaction / response or even the so-called ‘Like syndrome’. How about the highs and lows coming after the (non) attention that follows an almost immediate feedback which will be displayed in detail in the blog entry on «digital emotions» coming soon.
Curiosity killed the cat!
Observing others is also a relevant factor. Also out of reciprocal courtesy we must be willing to follow the publications of our contacts and to react to them too… all resulting in the «inexhaustible attraction» of this virtual world and the «addictive» qualities present in participative dynamics.
We have been invited in this INTEF course to raise awareness over how much time we spend plugged into technology and whether we could find a better balance between both worlds, or in other words, are we growing more concerned about what happens in virtual scenarios than in our own natural world.
The big question is how many of the activities we used to do within the same 24h that our day still has have we replaced with screens. If your reply is «too many» or you couldn’t actually give an accurate answer, here is the challenge. So when you are ready and if you would like to analyse your plugged-in time, reflect on the use of technology and perhaps find a better balance between your digital activities and your natural world activities, follow these steps:
estimate, monitor, watch, compare, evaluate
C -H – A – N – G – E
- To produce an estimate of your «plugged-in time» answer these questions:
- How many times a day do you access your mobile device?
- How much time do you spend on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram?
- How much time do you spend on instant messaging social networks?
- How many notifications do you receive per day?
- How much time do you spend watching television and / or streaming platforms?
- How much time do you spend checking news updates?
- How much time do you spend playing video games?
- How much time screen time do you regularly have when not working? And in total?
- Do you eat in front of screens?
- Are screens interrupting your relationships, do you still use devices while you are chatting with friends or family?
- Do you interrupt your work to answer notifications, check social networks (or other) not related to what you are working at?
- Do you have any «screen-free» leisure activities?
- Do you actually spend time «doing nothing»?
2. You are then invited to use Apps like Unlock Clock, for instance, to help you check facts objectively on how many times your phone gets unlocked, for instance, which can give you an idea of your grabbing-the-phone impulse.
3. Then monitor and compare how different your estimate and the observed data really are and whether you think the time you spend plugged-in is adequate.
4. And suggest steps you can take to improve the balance between your digital and natural world activities.
I already implemented some «ideas to unplug» like bringing my old alarm clock back onto the bedside table instead of that tempting mobile phone which to unlock last thing at night – first thing in the morning. Or asking everyone to leave our mobile phones in the boot when we are commuting to places (getting to school everyday takes 45 minutes of our time when we can listen to our favourite music, talk, remain quiet, or simply enjoy the views in present company, instead of absolutely having to check notifications at every traffic lights).
My new challenge as from this day will be to reflect upon
- which of the above – FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn – I can live without OR
- I can check ONLY once either in the morning or afternoon / evening time;
- how much I actually need to check all Instagram posts in both my accounts (personal / professional), or how often;
- whether I really need a Facebook account as well;
- how many of those people I like to be connected with I could merge into one single App;
- how much I really need to bring my mobile phone with me when I go out for my constitutional;
- whether I can watch my favourite TTV once a week only.
What is your challenge?
New words originate from new worlds and forms of life, and we have also been drawn attention to these new vocabulary in our INTEF ON / OFF training course. You might want to learn what they mean!
Intense discomfort or fear of not having participated in something that has happened or has been published on networks and that leads the subject to be continually aware of them and to want to participate in all events. Some of its characteristics are: the anguish of feeling that one’s own life is much less interesting than that of others, wanting to spend more time interacting on social networks to feel part of a group, difficulty at rejecting plans.
Obligation to connect when ‘the other’ demands it. There is no more stopping to sleep, neither for social life nor for work. What if it ends up being more fun or exciting or enriching to contemplate what others experience than to have our own personal experiences?
Workers have the right to privacy in the use of digital devices made available to them by the employer. The right to digital disconnection and privacy from the use of video surveillance and geolocation devices in the terms established in current legislation on protection of personal data and guarantee of digital rights (this is what Spanish law 3/2018 states on protection of personal data and guarantee of digital rights that modifies the Workers’ Statute, including new article 20 on Workers’ rights to privacy in relation to digital environments and disconnection. New technologies should not be used to lengthen working hours because «it negatively affects work-life balance and puts people’s health at risk, causing stress and fatigue.»
According to the GAD3 report for «Empantallados», a third of parents claim to abuse technology and consider themselves a bad example for their children. We do not leave it for later what we can take care of immediately, that is the problem, and we parents are a reference for children. Sharenting is an Anglicism that comes from sharing (sharing) and parenting (paternity). It is the practice of parents sharing a large amount of information (often graphic) about the minors in their care on social networks.
Phubbing is formed by the words «phone» (telephone) and snubbing (despise – snub – ignore) that serves to describe that situation in which your companion pays more attention to their mobile than to us, getting lost in their phone for a long time and behaving directly as if you were not there. That is, ignoring our surroundings to concentrate on our device. According to this Baylor University survey, almost 1/2 of those asked say they have suffered phubbing from their partner and 1/5 admit to it having caused problems in their relationship. This practice can damage our face-to-face relationships and personal relationships extensively.
More than half children exceed screen time during the week, a percentage that reaches 80% during the weekend. In contrast, 63.3% of minors do not suit the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Physical activity time is decreasing with age according to data from the PASOS study. So new table manners rule: to follow: zero screens, it is time to chat.
Please note these warning signs that can move us to prevention:
- Checking the device first thing every day and last thing before going to bed.
- Excessive virtual communication.
- Losing track of screen time.
- Checking updates always becomes urgent.
- Isolation, and disconnection from the world around us.
- Wanting to and not being able to reduce the IT time.
- Drop in school performance.
- Discontinued every day tasks.
- Low interest in other hobbies.
- Overexcited IT usage.
- Interpersonal relationships neglect.
- Not being honest about screen time.
- Discomfort when «unplugged».
- Thinking of IT while doing something else.
- Uncaring for own health and wellbeing.
- Abuse of IT being noticeable.
- Irritability when unable to use IT.
Addiction to technology may have mental health consequences such as depression or emotional instability, irritability or even aggressiveness, inability to control impulses and constant worry. Also social consequences related to non-compliance with school and / or family obligations, conflicts with family/friends/teachers, social isolation, and even financial or legal problems.
Sleep deprivation, fatigue, sedentary lifestyle, eye and mental fatigue, constant headaches, immune system disorders, and in severe cases even malnutrition, may be also some of the negative consequences.
Stress and anxiety.