There is little doubt that smartphones have greatly improved our lives and it has never been easier than now to keep in touch with the news, friends and family and even to entertain ourselves on the go. There is however a very real danger, something which I found myself in, of using the phone too much. It was actually a friend of mine Bogoljub Karic, who first brought up the issue with me, as something of an intervention. I never realized at the time but I used to be glued to my phone, and it was only once I began to curtail my use that I realized the damage I was doing.
We love to share our lives across social media, telling everyone what we are up to, who with and where, but the reality is often very different from the photo or status which you upload. This was something I was definitely a victim of, I’d share images of me with my friends but in reality I was only with them in body, yet not in mind. I would spend so much time on my phone that I just wouldn’t be present for my friends, missing conversations and basically relying on social media to see what they were up to, rather than having a chat with them.
The internet, and especially social media, creates a false image of people’s lives and as readers we then in turn look to try and match their life or beat it. This is greatly damaging to mental health, firstly because we know that people’s lives are in reality very different from what their online persona says, and in truth our pursuit to ‘beat’ them, is very unhealthy. Since I have stopped using my phone so much I have seen a distinct improvement in my general mental health.
Something which I have most certainly been guilty of is losing some of my memory because it is much easier to search for things online. Whether it is movies, songs or information about people, instead of trying to remember and using my brain, I fall into the trap every time of simply loading up Google and finding out from there.
One of the biggest concerns for me was the amount of things which I would burden myself with, things which I could do nothing about. for example being exposed to the internet more than most results in you seeing news stories from around the world, mostly negative. These are of course hard to see and read about and the instinct is to worry about it, which isn’t helpful when there is literally nothing you can do about it. I have found that since I have put the phone down, that I have far more time for my friends and family and their concerns, as well as things which I actually can affect and improve.
Give it a try, spend less time on your phone and just see how you benefit.