I love technology. I mean serious love. I believe we’re truly blessed to be living in a time where our lives are continuously being made easier by gadgets and gizmos, most of our questions can be answered via a quick Google search and distances are being bridged by programmes like Skype and Oovoo.
And yet, there is a line we have to draw before our lives become consumed by the very machines we made to assist them. I love my iPhone, but watching young couples or groups of friends burying their faces in their gadgets and giving up on face to face interaction makes me yearn for a time when the only way to get in touch with somebody was to send them a handwritten letter.
So how do we establish a balance between being embracing technology and maintaining human contact?
Use your own time to browse the web, download apps, listen to music, play games and surf Youtube. When you’re meeting your friends or your loved ones, however, be curteous and leave your phone in your bag. Pulling out your phone while you’re on a date, or while your friend is chatting with you, basically tells the other person that your gadget is more important than they are. Unless you’re looking to swiftly shed your friends, devote your attention to them when you’re in their company.
2. Educate yourself
Sure, sometimes all you really need is to spend a couple of hours watching videos of kittens and sneezing pandas. It is pretty cheap therapy. But remember the internet is a wonderful educational resource. There are thousands of sites and blogs out there with well-written and informative articles on pretty much any subject you care to learn about. It’s pretty easy to figure out how to sort the wheat from the chaff, and once you’ve done that, you’ve literally got a whole world of knowledge at your fingertips.
3. Be ethical
Don’t waste the earth’s resources. Unplug gadgets and chargers when you aren’t using them, turn off the lights when you leave a room, make use of energy saving appliances and bulbs. Also, be nice to people online and don’t feed the trolls (and leave nice comments on posts you’ve enjoyed ;) )
4. Turn off
It’s easy to get sucked into a swirling vortex of technology. You need it for work, school, socialising. You use it in your free time. You check your emails every five minutes on your phone. Some days, you just need to unplug – literally. Let people know in advance that you will be offline for the weekend. Turn off your phone. Close your laptop. Switch off that TV (YES, that too!) and be with people for a while. Meet your friends for a coffee. Eat dinner with your family. Curl up in bed and read that book you’ve wanted to read for years and year but “never really had the time”. You’ll be surprised at how many things you manage to get done when you’re not compulsively refreshing your Facebook feed.