Written by Christina Wallace
*stands on soapbox and adjusts microphone*
Is having everything at our fingertips affecting relationships we have with ourselves and others?? Hmmm…
The first thing we tend to do when we open our eyes every morning is to check our social media feeds. Who said what on Facebook? Who did she post on Instagram? What did they do on Snapchat? Have you seen the meme trending on Twitter? Not to mention, we have text messages that are still waiting for a response (unless your phone is dry like mine). There’s an underlying peer pressure that requires constant checking of updates on what’s going on in other people’s lives. (Got FOMO?)
When used as a tool, the internet can provide a wealth of knowledge relative to personal goals pertaining to life, education and basic communication with loved ones and significant others. On the other hand, when used purely for the sake of consumption, it’s used to stalk, to demean, and mentally devour facts that have no relevance in our efforts to be a contributing member of society. Where our attention goes, our Qi follows. We need to work on investing in our energy wisely!
All it takes is one click to have Amazon deliver to us the next day. When someone fails to message us back in a timely manner, we take it personal and feel neglected. Or, if we want to avoid conversations with people, we don’t read the messages or go ghost. We are more easily bored. Since skills take time to learn, we tend to never follow through and move on to the next captivating trend.
This instant gratification we receive from our screens cause us to expect instant gratification in life. Instead of working on relationships and friendships, we jump from person-to-person in hopes of finding what we’re searching for. We fail to realize that things take time: chemistry, love, personal development, trust. There may be an app or two for all of these factors, but it still takes time.
I am in no way implying that we should become anti-internet, or boycott social media (let’s be realistic here!). I’m suggesting that we are so disconnected that we treat real life as if it’s the online world. When we look up from our screens, our expectations versus our reality can be quite a shocker.
To protect your digital hygiene, here are some tips to ween yourself from overconsumption:
1. Monitor how often you use your phone, using apps like QualityTime and Moment.
2. Turn off your phone notifications to keep you from getting lost in mindless scrolling.
3. Use a real alarm clock and plug your phone into the charger in a separate room. This keeps from your phone being the first thing you reach for in the morning.
4. Allot time to respond to your messages. Phones are necessary, but they don’t have to rule your life. Pick a time slot that works for you.
5. Turn off your phone during certain hours of the day. This will save your battery, and help improve your self control.
6. Try a new hobby! This will help you to identify new talents, find fulfillment, and build self-confidence.
7. Focus on yourself. Worrying about what others are doing can cause anxiety, which can lead to unhealthy comparisons, which then can lead to depression. You are the best thing to obsess over!
We’re hope you’re able to clean up your online habits with these digital hygiene tips!