The Not-So-Smart Phone
What does working at my desk, eating dinner in my living room and watching a film in bed have in common? Whether I have a mouse, cutlery or the TV remote in one hand, I am sure to have my phone in the other. I scroll through mouthfuls, miss integral parts of the story and halve my productivity.
We live in an age where multi-tasking has made us inefficient rather than efficient.
Attending social occasions, we spend the time swapping messages with those not present. I’ll pop home for the weekend to see my parents and the conversation I’m having is over Facebook with someone else.
Scrolling is an endemic disease. The symptom of a social malaise that can be attributed to a disconnection with the here and now.
It reflects a generational impatience that life plods along too slowly for our liking. Our unexceptional, unfiltered existences are dulled to us so we subconsciously seek out our next fix of filtered, sensational content. We habitually keep tabs on the lives of others because we cannot measure ourselves without a field of reference.
We are deeply insecure.
Our Social Media Addiction
The smart-phone is an addiction that like all others negates the abuser. Scrolling takes us out of ourselves and distracts us from our reality.
We hide behind our screens without realising.
Many people today are fundamentally afraid of spending time on their own, left with their own thoughts. We try to turn them off with cheap external stimulants that can momentarily entertain our attention. But the lack of substance found on Facebook leads to the scrolling.
Like mindless farm animals who receive next to no substance from each mouthful of grass, we chew and chew, never satisfied.
At a social gathering where you feel slightly uncomfortable, the phone comes out. You hide behind it and excuse yourself from the effort of having to maintain a conversation. The fear of an awkward silence creates a silence broken only by tapping.
How many times a day do you reach for your phone? 30? 50? Is 100 really that superlative? How much time do you spend scrolling on auto-pilot? Perhaps more importantly, how long does it take you to re-focus on the task at hand after becoming distracted?
Technology has simultaneously made us more effective and productive than ever before while rendering us as inefficient as ever.
The remedy to scrolling disease is self-awareness. When checking Facebook or email becomes intentional and not instinctive, we regain a degree of self-control.
If a state of self-awareness seems too “airy fairy” for you, and it should be, you can take practical medicine. My medication of choice is called “aeroplane mode”.
Cut the internet, you cut the source.
The other way you break the habit is to interrupt the sequence. Move your apps around, take social media – if not off of your phone altogether – then off of the front page. Giving your drugs of choice a slight obstacle is often enough to make you conscious of the urge to constantly feed your craving.
Sometimes we need to log out to log back in.