Smart phones and dumb people…

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There is a video which has recently gone viral called Look Up. It’s a simple, hard-hitting, to the point video showing just what all this trend of constantly being online is doing to us as people. The video made me think, made me look at how I spend my days, how my life has changed because of this one little phone in my hand. But more than anything else I couldn’t help but laugh a little at the irony of the fact that we need a YouTube video to tell us to not watch YouTube videos, among other things! What kind of monster have we created that its quite literally become the case of ‘He who gives me strength also makes me weak!’. While the video doesn’t demonize the online world, the onslaught of technology completely, it does make us ponder on how we spend our days and nights and every waking (and half asleep) moment. I thought about the video rationally, because let’s face it we cannot give up technology and the internet completely, but there are a couple of things that we can do. And we definitely should!

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1. Ask yourself a simple question – what is the first thing that you do when you wake up? Have tea? Do some Yoga? Read the paper? Exercise? Feel thankful for the beautiful day that you have been gifted? No! You, and I and everyone else, check your phone – specifically your messages/e mails. Now ask yourself another question- what important, life-changing messages do you get every day that every morning, cocky-eyes and half asleep, you first turn to your phone? Take a minute, step away from your phone and enjoy the morning. If something urgent would have happened while you were sleeping you would have gotten a call. But you haven’t! So relax. Have your tea, stretch a bit, read the paper, think about the things that you have to do during the day and organize yourself (your thoughts included). Even as less as ten minutes devoted to yourself at the start of each day can increase your efficiency manifold and keep your stress level under control. Ten minutes away from your phone, can’t you do that?

2. Where do you keep your phone while sleeping? While few of us have the habit of keeping it away on the bedside table, most of us are found in the morning sleeping in a awkward, otherworldly posture with the phone still in our hands! Or tucked under our pillow! Now the irony here is that we all have read the numerous studies that state how harmful the radiations emitted from mobile phones can be – and we have read that on our phones! We know it is not healthy to have such a close association with our phones, that the long term health problems that we are bound to face are much more serious than the short term benefits of having it around always. And yet we don’t listen, we don’t understand. Why? Its high time. Do something about it.

3. Why did you take that last vacation? And what do you remember of it? do you remember that view from the top of the hill or the likes that you got on Facebook and Instagram when you posted that picture? Ask yourself honestly – did you stress throughout your whole vacation ( which was meant to your time away from the whole world, time to relax) about your internet connection and clicking as many pictures as possible just so that you could post them all online and show off to your friends what an amazing time you had? Couldn’t you have done all these things right here at home? Why go all that distance and spend all that money to stress over these petty, petty things? A vacation is your time for yourself, it is you taking a break from your job, from studies, from the hustle and bustle of everyday life which sometimes gets too much to handle. When on vacation, disconnect. Remember that the whole point of a vacation is memories that you cherish for a lifetime, not pictures that you can parade in front of your (virtual) friends.

4. Sit down and have a meal with your family – with just your family. No phones, no tabs, no laptops, no television. It is shocking that most of us would not remember the last time we did that. We all stay so caught up in the virtual world that we have, tragically, become disconnected with the real one. Sit, chat, interact, and ask questions, share things about your day – with real people, in real time. Next time, ask your friends out for some coffee, not to a group chat. Make the effort and you’ll know the difference. Start now, do not become a slave. Remember that technology was made to help us, to aid us, not take over every aspect of our lives the way it is.

Follow these four spectacularly simple things for just a week and you will the difference. We have reached the unfortunate point where we are losing ourselves, our lives, missing opportunities and, most importantly, missing people just so that we could be with our phone. Remember, it’s just not worth it.