I was born in the late 80s, which means that I was part of the first generation to grow up with computers. My brothers and I would play games on our family desktop for hours each day, excitedly anticipating the next time we’d each be able to get on. When I was in middle school, I started using the phone to talk to my friends all the time (remember 3-way calling?). I got a cell phone at 16 and texted almost to the limit each month. I got a laptop and loaded up on Internet all the time. Now, I literally sleep in bed with my computer sometimes (I work very early in the morning) and always keep my phone next to my pillow. I admit it: I have an issue with technology dependence.
This year, the National Day of Unplugging is on March 1 – 2 “from sundown to sundown,” which happens to fall on my day off (Saturday). The point of the day is give yourself a relief from the constant backlit, 12-point font life that we have all invested ourselves in so deeply the past several years. I’ll be participating, though I know it’s going to be much harder than my overly confident brain is telling me it will.
As sad as it sounds, I am totally addicted to me phone. A friend of mine pointed it out this morning and I didn’t even realize that it was true until moments later, when I couldn’t find my phone and totally freaked out (it was in a pocket of my purse). I’m afraid of missing emails, I’m afraid of missing texts and calls, I’m afraid of not being able to access my Twitter and Yelp and whatever else I “need” at all times. While I also use my iPhone for super practical things like GPS, I most certainly love using it for everything else. And if I don’t have my laptop with me, I feel anxious — what if I need to write? What if I need to do something for my bosses? What if my mom needs help with her something or other and only the Internet can help me and my phone is dead?!
Of course, there are few emergencies wherein you need the Internet. And while I will keep my phone with my between Friday and Saturday, I plan on not using any Internet, text messages or anything else at all unless it’s an absolute necessity (i.e. the car breaks down). I’m not doing this because I think it’l be fun; I’m doing it because I know that my fear of being without technology is an issue.
Staring at our phones, leaning into our computer screens, hunching over our laptops and iPads and video games…none of it is good for us. It’s not healthy for our posture, our eyes, our sleep. I find myself so easily woken up by the slightest beep, and it’s just that much harder to get back to bed.
It’s generally not going to destroy much about our lives if we unplug from our collective intolerance for a little while, so shouldn’t we at least try to do without, however briefly?