There is absolutely no denying the fact that we are all extensively addicted to our mobile phones. I am one of those people who would like to frown upon kids for being so dependent on a device but when you yourself are that person, you cannot exactly preach what you do not practice! I also have a lot of work on social media and a part of my monthly income can be attributed to the addictive behaviour I display around my cell phone. Kids these days treat their cell phone like a part of their hand, an extension of their arm; and yet, using the term ‘kids these days’ seems ridiculous looking at how I am clearly one of them. But I mean the actual kids, the 16-year-old on snapchat and using applications as swiftly as a robot working a device. It’s no joke.
In the last few years, since the advent of WhatsApp and Instagram, the world seems to have changed completely. The entire dynamic of how people communicate, to even the way we dress seems to have changed; considering a lot of people dress exclusively for the internet these days. There are social media stars and YouTube fan fests. And all this is a fast-growing serious money-making business which seems to get a tiny bit less ridiculous and surprisingly more and more streamlined with every passing day. But then one day comes when you lose your phone or as in my case, your phone gets stolen. And in one minute your entire virtual reality, the world you were hooked to inside of your head, is gone. Vanished. Sure, you can always log on to your laptop or check someone else’s phone for updates, but that’s just another brazenly evident sign of how obsessed one is with something that is possibly really damaging to not just your mental but also your physical health. Who else spends two extra hours scanning Instagram or Pinterest instead of soundly falling asleep every night at a set time? Well, you have your answer.
I lost my phone on Sunday and for the 3 days I was without a phone, I actually thought about it in my head as a detox. Yes, it’s come to that now. Not carrying around a device seems like a detox to the body. I ended up observing small, simple things that otherwise would have no chance of coming under my radar, since the phone’s screen occupies much more than just your eyesight. It takes your brain, your mind and your focus with it. And if you are constantly checking for emails, updates on work, the ever-changing Instagram feed, messages you need to get back to and a few dozen other apps that are so tempting to browse through, you might as well look at them than have a conversation with the person next to you. It would take immense control and a willingness to actually be convinced that too much screen time is bad for you, to get rid of your phone beyond a point. Most of us do research and get tons of work done on the phone and cutting off almost seems like you are slacking or planning an early retirement. It’s a catch 22.
Maybe I even had the time to actually prattle on about this because I saved an immense amount of time not glaring into my phone screen. What surprises me about this addiction to the phone issue is the fact that most of us, at least everyone who I see speaking about this, is extremely aware about it. It does not seem like something that is happening on the side-lines, like something we will look back at and be mildly amused at, thinking of what really happened back then. Most people my age, contrary to popular belief are actually quite aware of how intensely attached they are to social media or maybe just browsing through websites or shopping through the device and yet, no one seems to be actively working on reducing screen time or disconnecting. For lack of a better word, FOMO. Fear of missing out, for all you non-millennial purists out there. I guess, the only way to deal is to not deal in this situation. To live and let live and let things be. Maybe food will actually start appearing out of the phone screen soon and then we are truly, seriously and gloriously doomed. Because that, would truly be the peak. The end of a very sordid, very stable and a very much real reality.