Digital Mindfulness

The readings and TED Talk for this week made me start thinking about my journey with technology. The TED Talk A year offline, what I have learned by Paul Miller made me think back to my childhood and how much easier life was without technology.

Growing up, my family had a desktop computer that was not hooked up to the internet that we used for about one hour every week and a television with three channels that we watched for two hours or less every day but Saturday. (Saturday cartoons are the best!)

Now, my world consists of my personal laptop that I am on the majority of the time at college, a television that is used way too often at home, and multiple tablets or kindles that started out as family devices and slowly morphed into my siblings’ devices. I refuse to get a smartphone because I do not need to be attached to society through social media every hour of the day, and I can use my friends’ or family members’ smartphones if I need something and my computer is not near.

After watching A year offline, what I have learned and reflecting on my technology growth, I read What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect From Tech For Three Days and Simplify the Internet. My initial responses were “it is sad how dependent people are on their phones” and “this class is a hypocrite.” I know that I am not always mindful of what I am doing while using technology, but I also know that I can go without technology for a long time without any withdrawals. I also know that the point of this class is to teach us about being aware of technology and the uses of it in society, so a natural part of this class should be how to disconnect from technology in a healthy way.

I feel like society as a whole could be more attentive when they are hanging out with people who care about them. Too many people sit on their phones while the person they are texting is sitting in the same room. We need to open our eyes, face our fears, and talk to people without a screen to hide behind for protection. This also goes with multi-tasking. It has been proven that your brain cannot do two things at once. It is just really good at switching between two things in a quick fashion. With this knowledge, I also believe that we need to stop messing with technology while talking with others because we cannot be in the presence of both worlds. The featured image I found this week ties in greatly with this lesson.

“Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.”
~Natalie Goldberg

Because we are tethered to our digital devices, we miss out on many moments that can increase our creativity and that will bring joy to our lives as they happen. We can also miss out on the beauty of the everyday routines or the joys of the life surprises of every size. Even the times that we feel like we have been cursed can be special if we live them.

If we are constantly on some form of digital device are we truly living?

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