Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Smart Phone Is Making Me Stupid

Help! My smart phone is making me stupid!

I recently was upgraded at work to the Samsung Galaxy S5.  It’s a sweet phone.  I can access nearly everything.  I have both my work and personal email accounts accesable on there.  I have some great fitness apps to track my calories, workouts, mileage…it even takes my pulse!  I can get up to date, local weather forecasts and even animated weather maps for anywhere in the world.  I have instant access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…you name it!  Don’t even get me started on the camera!  I have a photo and video suite in my pocket.  I have the entire Gospel Library in there and have access to decdes of conference talks and church videos.

It’s truly the Tricorder from Star Trek come to life!

It’s a great device…and I hate it.

I like to think that I’m relatively in control of my technology use.  I don’t put a lot of stuff out there (social networks).  I don’t play video games or spend a lot of time surfing the net.  I’m a fairly moderate tech user…but I’m finding more and more that I can’t seem to go anywhere without this device.  I find myself checking email and social networks with greater frequency.  I get antsy when I forget to take my phone somewhere and think that if I don’t use it to track my running and workouts that I’m going to miss out on vital information. What really got me thinking about this today though, is that whenever I walk somewhere, I have to pull it out of my pocket and check to see if I have any notifications.

Myyy Precious...I'm like Gollum and the ring...myyy preccccioussss...

I’m starting to feel somewhat enslaved by it…and that’s not good. 

I also feel like I’m remembering things less and less. I think this is occurring because I can put reminders on my phone and it remembers for me.  Only, it’s easy to ignore those reminders and I forget anyway.  I don’t like feeling like my brain is locked into this device.

What to do?

I decided that I needed to come up with some ways to combat this growing reliance on technology.  Here are a few things that I’ve come up with that I plan to implement:

  1. Only check social networks once a day.  I don’t post much and if I miss a thing  or two…it’s bound to come back from someone else.  I also need to “un-friend” people who post meaningless stuff that truly is a waste of time.  It’s nothing personal…I still like you in real life…there is just too much being shared out there and I honestly don’t want to know that your puppy is cute or that your child pooped today…or…you get the idea.
  2. Quit tracking my running automatically with Strava.  It’s cool and everything….but I liked it better when I had to map out my run and know how far I was running then I timed myself and actually did math to figure out my pace.  I feel more in control that way.  Besides, I get to play with maps and that is cool! 
  3. Likewise, I’m not using my music player as much when I run.  I like the music, but I also like to just hear my thoughts, the beating of my heart, the pounding of my feet and the sheer joy of the effort.  It lets me be more in the moment.
  4. Only access internet when I really need too.  It’s too easy to go off on tangents.  Get on, do what you need to do, and get off.
  5. Read more out of REAL BOOKS.  E-books are really cool but there is just something about having a book that is simply cooler.  Same goes for scriptures.
  6. Take handwritten notes on paper.  Make sure to doodle on the paper…my notes make more sense that way.  
  7. Leave my phone sometimes.  When I’m in the house, I don’t need to carry it with me.  Even at work sometimes I can leave it behind.  
  8. Clean up my email accounts and get off a lot of junk mail lists.

The way I see it, my phone is a tool.  A tool for my benefit and not my detriment.  I need to use it as such.  I don’t want to be one of those walking dead who never look up from their device because their entire life is contained on it.  I want to look up, see what is around me and enjoy the awesomeness that is life.