I have just finished reading a thought-provoking book about how we can benefit a great deal from unplugging from digital media, and how it helps us to live a mindful life. There is a link to the book below:
In summary, the book suggests that being constantly connected digitally is not a good thing at all. In fact, multi-tasking online, rather than uni-tasking, is counter-productive and inefficient. Using social media makes us more lonely and depressed. The life that we are presenting to the world is completely artificial and has little value. We are wasting hours and hours creating these artificial personas rather than actually interacting with people and living. There are many videos on youtube which echo this sentiment, their popularity suggesting that many people are worried about the negative effects of digital media. Here are 3 of them:
One of the activities in the book asks us to list the ten things we would do if we discovered that tomorrow was our last day on this Earth. My list included spending time cuddling my children and eating my favourite meal (chole bhatura made by my darling mum!), as well as speaking one final time to people I care about. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or answering emails appeared nowhere on my list! I have vowed that I am going to live less of a digital life from now on. These are some of the things I’m planning on doing:
‘Unplugging’ from all digital devices for at least 4 hours a day. This is quite difficult but it is worth it! I’m even going out without my phone for this length of time.
Leaving my phone downstairs at night time.
Not allowing my children to use any digital devices for more than 30 minutes each day.
If I care about someone, I’m going to write them a letter, rather than send them an email.
I am going to call people up rather than text them (unless I’m texting them to arrange to meet them)!
I’m going to make an effort to meet all my friends and do nice things with them, rather than just chatting to them on Facebook. When I meet them, I’m not advertising the fact on Facebook, I’m not looking at my phone, and no selfies will be taken!
I am no longer posting photos on Instagram, Twitter etc. I’m limiting my usage of Facebook to just ten minutes a day. If I go somewhere and ‘check-in’, I’m just doing it to remind myself that I went there (like a diary), so I’m changing my audience for these posts on Facebook to ‘only me’. For photos and videos of my children, I have a Facebook group which only consists of family members. The reason I have this is because I have family who live far away and abroad, and I don’t want them to miss out.
Already, I’m seeing the benefits of these changes. I have a much more active social life, meeting friends I haven’t seen in years, am waking up early, going to the park with my children before school, doing lots of exercise, and am less worried about comparing myself to other people with their ‘perfect Facebook lives’. I’m looking forward to living a far more valuable, authentic life, surrounded by people I truly care about, and doing things that I really want to do. I am finally looking up and seeing the world, rather than looking at fake lives on a small screen.