A big percentage of society spends an extremely excessive amount of time online, where everything they do, see, and experience can be viewed by everyone and where there are phone applications that you can use to identify strangers you see on the subway or at the park and that with the click of a button, you can pretty much deduce where they work, what they do on a daily basis, and what they ate for lunch yesterday.
There are no secrets, and everyone is in everyone else’s business.
What started as an interesting way to connect with everyone has slowly evolved into a time-consuming and detrimental hobby, if you could still call it a hobby rather than an addiction.
If you go to any public place in any major city, I can guarantee you that at least 7 out of 10 people will be glued to their phones or at least checking them every now and then.
Many studies have been done over the past few years to show the negative effects of staying online, whether on social media, reading or being on social media, have had on people, most especially children. From severely shortening a person’s attention span to promoting violence, there have been numerous accounts of why staying glued to your device for longer than necessary damages people.
How crazy is it that the challenge for us now is that we consciously have to pursue the real world in order to escape the online one? Have you heard of retreats or hotel and resort accommodations that purposely require their guests to surrender their electronic devices in order to stay?
The amount of time humans spend online now compared to 10 years ago has made such a big difference to society. The “real world” has been skewed with the online one, where everything just seems so much better than they really are.
We’ve gotten to that point that we escape and jump from one pseudo-reality to another in order to thrive in this world. It’s become a repetitive form of channel switching like what we used to do with TVs. Can you imagine constantly switching the channels for almost 20 hours a day? That’s pretty much what you’re doing as you scroll down Instagram or Facebook, looking for something to ‘like’ briefly and then moving along, never staying long enough to see the whole story and only sticking around for the good parts or the parts you like. It’s something you shouldn’t get used to.
So, what can we do to fix that? We limit our time online. We purposely choose to distance ourselves from too much of the rest of the world so we can focus on what’s in front of us and be okay with what we find, sticking around long enough to see what’s there and what can happen. When you do this long enough, fighting the urge to take a photo of everything you find becomes easier. You can witness sooner, deal with things better, and overall, might make us more present every day.