Why You Should Uninstall Your Apps NOW
When the smartphone first came about, like most people, I found it extremely exciting.
Coming from a place, where just a few years prior — I had achieved considerable musical success, fame and recognition through MySpace, my life at the time was all about ‘being social’ (whatever that means in an online context) and building my ‘brand’ (whatever the hell that is).
But what I didn’t realise back then, was that with computers, there was a clear seperation between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ time.
Typically, you turned your computer on to complete a project, or to browse for a bit, and then it went back off again once you were done.
So, to suddenly have access to 24-hour notifications and to be constantly ‘connected’ seemed like a dream, at first.
But bit by bit, as time went by, and as I became addicted to checking my notifications and emails every waking moment of every day, I grew more and more tired and fatigued, and I found that my constant phone checking and obsession with Instagram began to erode my identity. I become a slave to social media. And then the depression and anxiety came.
And it wasn’t just me that this happened to.
Now, everywhere I go, I am surrounded by people with the same problem. It was only when I read ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington that I discovered the beauty of digital detoxing, so I took the huge risk of uninstalling my apps. At first, it was extremely difficult to adapt to, because the addictive, OCD part of my brain missed out on that constant attention.
But two years in, and I can honestly say that I’ll never go back.
However, since I have done this, I now notice other people’s smartphone problems even more, and in some ways, I feel sorry for them because they haven’t quite woken up to what it’s doing to them, yet.
I wish I could help, but it’s difficult in a world where this behaviour is so normal, and accepted. So what are the implications of having your apps installed on your phone?
- The constant barrage of online media: digital media overload. No time for ‘space’ and ‘clarity.’
- The constant need to check notifications: we’re slaves to our apps.
- The need to check work emails during free time: we’ve become workaholics.
- Relying on our online identities to define who we are: we’ve merged our real, and digital personalities. We think they’re the same thing, when they’re not.
- Spending too much time online instead of other activies: we’re not using our time effectively anymore.
These days, it’s acceptable to retreat to Facebook for a couple of hours each day after work. Instead, why not sit down and think about how many hours you have wasted these past few years surfing online pointlessly just to stay busy, when you could have used that energy to engage in more fulfilling activities?
I honestly think that our generation will look back and regret the hours wasted when we’re older.
Yet, if I said to you right now ‘delete your Facebook,’ you’d think I was out of my mind. You’d think I was crazy. ‘I can’t live without that!’ One word springs to mind here: ‘addict.’
We’ve grown so attached to our apps and our online profiles, that we can’t imagine life without it, which is sad when you think about it. What’s missing in our world is that line between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ time. Because the more connected we are, the less connected we become with ourselves, and the people around us. We lose that inner sense of self.
Our intuitions fade away. Our wisdom fades away. We’d rather post our emotions online than express them to our friends or family, which doesn’t do our mental health any good. We’d rather talk to friends online, than see them in real life. We’d rather arrange a date online out of convenience, or because we’re too ‘busy,’ than go out and find love in an organic way.
We absorb so much online media that it influences how we think.
We take gratification from how many likes, views and follows we receive on social media. We want an app to control our jukebox. Have we gone crazy? Have we gotten lazy? I think we have. I fear that the more time we spend doing this as a nation, we’ll gradually forget how to live and function in the way that we used to.
Should we go back to the old way? I’d love it if we could, but it’s just not going to happen, because people are so addicted into the digital world, and they don’t know any better.
But just like ‘quit smoking’ adverts, there certainly can be more done towards inspiring people to take back control of their digital usage and develop a sense of offline identity again.
But first, we need to wake up and realise that it’s a problem, and admit to it, because until that happens, nothing can be done. But I hope that with time, smartphone addiction will be recognised as a modern crisis similar to smoking, binge eating and binge drinking.
The world needs it. And so do you.