Our modern lifestyle means that we are more accessible and more in demand than ever before. Technology means that we are ever surrounded by televisions, computers, and whatnot, and these electronics mean that we run the risk of becoming a slave to the machine. However, there is such a thing as too much, and we need to turn off occasionally.
Technology is convenient – allowing us to answer calls wherever we are, work from home, contact friends and family that live far away without having to spend a fortune, just to name a few things. However, this same convenience also has a darker side, as our lives become more solitary and sedentary, risking damage to both our emotional and physical health. Think of how many times you’ve had to answer your phone during a dinner date or other outing, or have rushed through quality time with your children so you can finish off a work project. How often do you spend indoors, staring at a screen, rather than being active outside in the fresh air?
Portable technology has led to the age of “always on”, and this has been particularly well shown by the mobile phone. As technology has improved, they are not just for making and receiving calls. We can send text messages, hold video conferences, send emails, take photos, listen to music, surf the web, and even play games on them. Add laptops, wireless internet and palm pilots into the equation and we have never been more connected.
Of course, the good thing about this connectedness is that we can contact others at the push of a button. But spend too much time “virtually communicating” and you may well find that you personal relationships begin to suffer. You may even rob yourself of much needed down time. However, it’s not about turning the machines off but rather recognising when enough is enough.
For example, you may decide to limit your recreational use of the internet to an hour a day. Also recognise that you don’t have to answer your phone every time it rings. After a certain time at night, let calls go to voicemail or your answering machine. It is rare that you will get a call that absolutely cannot wait until the morning to be returned.
Instant messaging programs may be convenient but make the time to go out and see your friends and family – whether it’s for a movie, a barbecue, a few drinks, or whatever you decide. Not only will you catch up with them, you’ll also have a great time. Face to face contact is much more recharging for the mind and soul than a quick hello over a screen. If you have children, spend quality time with them. Read to them at night, play games with them, or take them out somewhere. Kids need to be with their parents and you don’t have to organise things that are expensive or fancy. Just spending the time with one another is more than enough.