Is technology enhancing or diminishing your life?

As a result of the smartphone revolution, everyone has the power of a computer in their pocket.This means that you can easily be informed about the latest happ­­­­­enings around the world, chat with friends, watch movies, keep up with your favourite celebrities, check e-mail, carry out business transactions and a host of other activities.
 The convenience offered by technological advances ought to improve the quality of our lives by making things easy, convenient and stress free.

However this is not always the case as sometimes technology usage can become destructive if it is not properly managed.
 You check your facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat and a host of other social networking sites daily.
 You also check your phone, e-mail, sports news, watch hundreds of videos daily on youtube, take countless selfies, argue incessantly on forums and more if this description sounds like you, it is possible that you are obsessed with your gadgets and it could affect you adversely.

If you want technology to improve your life you have to take control of your internet and smartphone usage rather than allowing these devices to take over your life.

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Technology will diminish your life if you regularly:

  • Go without sleeping or eating because of the Internet.
  • Binge watch your favourite tv or online shows.
  • Abandon important projects due to surfing the Internet.
  • Ignore family, friends and school assignments.
  • Get depressed when viewing people’s pictures and videos online.
  • Check test messages while driving.
  • Refrain from communicating with people in person preferring to communicate only in the virtual world.
  • Spend all day with your gadgets (smartphones, tv, game consoles, laptops and more)

It is easy to get obsessed to your gadgets due to the accessibility of smartphones even if you regularly use your laptop you can’t take your laptop everywhere you go.
 Your smartphone on the other hand can easily be accessed and it provides a wide range of apps you can often download for free.
 The easy accessibility and low cost of using your smartphone means that you can easily get addicted to your smartphone.

Most apps and online services encourage community and social interaction. You receive notification for every chat, e-mail, news, weather update and other activities you are interested in.
 Most of these apps are configured to notify you by default of any new update, also because you often don’t log out of these services it implies that you are always available to chat and if you are not careful you will waste all your time on the internet.

If you play games your scores are often compared with other players on leaderboards or achievements and this would often provide you with an additional motivation to keep playing so that you can improve your scores in the rankings.

To regain control of your devices and use technology to improve your life, you will need to make a few adjustments.

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1) Turn off notifications on your smartphone

Use the settings in your apps to turn off notifications. Most popular apps such as Gmail, WhatsApp, Facebook and more have notification options in their settings area, use this to disable notifications.
 Only enable notifications in those rare moments where you need to immediately respond to a message.
 There might be the temptation to regard your messages on facebook or twitter as urgent but they are not you can often reply to them later without any adverse consequences.

If you constantly reply to all your messages it creates the impression that you should always be available 24hrs and if you do this significant relationships with your family might suffer and you will not rest adequately.

2) Turn off your Internet services when not in use

The allure of always-on internet service is high but there are moments when you want to work and you don’t really need to surf the internet. Instead of switching on your internet connection and being tempted to keep reading articles or watch the latest news you can simply turn off your data connection on your phone.
 You can also install extensions such as StayFocused, Rescuetime or WasteNoTime to block certain websites or even the internet from running on your Computer.

3) Use the Internet to improve your skills

Instead of spending all your time looking at pictures and watching hundreds of time wasting videos, you can use the internet to improve your existing skills or learn new ones.
 Popular sites such as Youtube can be used as a resource you can learn just about any useful task you can think off such as playing the guitar, making videogames, programming, photography, exercise and more.

You also have access to courses from some of the top universities in the world using platforms such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare, ItunesU , EDX, Udemy or FutureLearn here you can take useful courses that would enhance your skills.

So take these sites for a spin, the quality of the course content varies platforms such as EDX, ItunesU and FutureLearn work with colleges to provide content while Udemy, Youtube or Vimeo are open platforms where anyone can create courses.
 Also courses on platforms such as EDX and FutureLearn are time based so by the time you check it out your favourite course might not be available but you will often find a related course that you might be interested in.
 Some courses you can try out on these platforms include:

Begin Robotics
 Explore the history, anatomy and intelligence of robots with this free online course. Test drive robots using exciting simulations.

From Java to Android for Beginners
 Learn to write your first Java program and Android app

Principles of MicroEconomics
 This is an introductory course on MicroEconomics

Building a personal brand by Gary Vaynerchuck
 Gary Vaynerchuck guides you through what it takes to build a personal brand and earn a decent income from it

The Complete Web Developer Course
 This course is recommended for you if you want to learn how to build websites or apps.

If you want technology to enhance your life you have to curb the addictive tendencies, there is always something you are going to miss out on ( a new movie, game, app, music video).
 You can’t keep up with every development each new app or game promises to completely transform your life but you must realize that they might not even be relevant in the next 3 years (MySpace anyone).
 Accept the reality that you can’t use every social networking service or online app and you are not missing anything if you don’t use some of these services.

Don’t become addicted to every shiny gadget because most upgrades to tech devices are gradual and not substantial.
 Forget the F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) effect, you can’t keep up, be updated and give a well informed opinion on everything that is going on in the world at once, you should endeavour to spend time to nurture quality relationships offline.
 Let technology enhance the quality of your life not diminish it.