Have you noticed nowadays that when we walk past a pub or a restaurant, we see several people on their mobile phones instead of talking to each other?
Human connection is changing. Naturally meeting people is getting more and more difficult. We can clearly see that with the growth of certain types of apps like, for example, Tinder: in a quick move you’re either interested or not. And not everyone is reading the description on these apps. We are instantly drawn by the pictures.
We can see in social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, pictures of people that seem to be constantly happy. And in these images, people seem to be complete. Their inner strength, self-confidence and happiness seems to be so real, but reality could a be little bit different.
Mobiles and social networks were developed and “thrown” into our laps, without a proper explanation of the constant and excessive use of it. Due to that, we rarely think of the impact technology has in our lives.
A 2012 Harvard study reported that, to talk about yourself in social media and using your mobile phone, will activate a pleasure sensation that is normally associated with food, money and sex. Having said that, we can agree that it’s highly addictive.
Every time you get a text message on Whatsapp or a like on Facebook, your body is releasing dopamine, the same chemical substance released when we smoke, drink alcohol and gamble. What’s interesting, and what should be taken into consideration, is that there are legal restrictions to these, and in most countries, it’s completely prohibited for you to use it under the age of eighteen. But we don’t have the same restrictions when it comes to mobile phones and social network, when using it excessively is just as dangerous, even for adults! Think of how damaging it could be for a fifteen-year-old teenager or an eight-year-old child!
I’d like to point out that there is nothing wrong in using your phone or social networks. What worries me is the current instability and addiction of it.
- You’re having dinner with a friend and use your phone constantly, either to message someone on Whatsapp or check social networks.
- The first thing you do when you wake up is to check your phone, not even saying good morning to the person next to you in bed.
- Bringing your mobile phone into a meeting and leaving it on top of the table, even if it’s faced down.
In these cases, what you’re showing people is that they’re not important in your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending time with them or not, your phone is the best option.
What can you do?
There’s an interesting app called Moment that will monitor your daily mobile use. The app clearly shows how much you’ve used your phone: how many times you checked something, what apps you used specifically, how long you spend in each app. I was in complete shock after downloading it! There was one particular day that I used my phone for ten hours! Ten hours! And, as much as I use it for work, that was pretty high. This made me realize that I need to use my phone better, and be smarter when it comes to it.
Unfortunately, they only have an iOS version of the app, for Apple users. But Quality Time was created for Android users and, a client of mine has been using it and simply loves it. In fact, from what I’ve heard, it’s got better features.
This sort of app, when installed, can help you take control of your daily usage and allow you to live real-life moments.
Social interaction with friends, family and co-workers is essential to our lives. Human interaction allows us to grow, hear similar or different opinions and make us reflect on society.
It might look like we’re interacting when we’re using our phones, but if we use it excessively, we’re only allowing an addiction to take control.
Putting your phone down for a few hours is healthy and necessary so we can look beyond the images and create real human connections with people around us.
I’ll leave you now with a challenge: make plans with someone you love and leave your phone on the side throughout the meeting. Then, notice the improvement on your relationship with this person, due to a change of habit.