In today’s fast-paced highly digitised world our daily demands often see us racing between things with long to-do lists in hand, inadvertently multi-tasking our way through our days that never seem to have enough hours in them.
And, while we don’t yet have the magic pill or antidote to our busy lives, we are, however, at choice around those little things that one after the other make up our hectic lifestyles. When it comes to technology, a curious thing has happened over the past decade and a half. Our phones have become smarter with more capabilities and applications that essentially mean that we don’t have to drop everything the moment they beep or vibrate. Yet, we do.
With social media certainly not being the short-lived craze we initially thought it might be, we are shackled to our phones more than many of us realise. Add our (too) many emails, text and SMS messages, Google searches and constant consumption of content – from music and videos, to how-tos and the latest must have online purchases – we are on our phones 24/7.
Research shows that on average smart phone users spend a minimum of 35 hours per week on our devices. That is as much as a full time job. On top of the time we spend at work, we spend almost the same time again away from our loved ones – off in the digital realm.
And, while we all have excuses just why we do this, we often overlook the fact that we role-model to our youngsters a behaviour that is essentially ruled by technology and our digital devices. Sure, our lives have been digitised and our kids will face even more of this with over 40% of the jobs our primary school aged children will perform not even existing yet and 60% of these are being technology based.
But, do we deprive our young children of the essential human and interpersonal skills and more importantly the connection we all need in order to navigate our fast changing world in positive ways? With isolation in our connected world and depression rising to epidemic proportions, smartphone addiction awareness charity MoodOff Day has made their up-coming 7th International Awareness Day on 24th February focused on our children. Under the motto of ‘Talk to Your Children Before Technology Does’ the 2019 campaign is all about connecting first and foremost with the people closest to you – not your phone.
What You Can Do
On MoodOff Day we are asked to turn our phones off for 5 hours on the morning of Sunday the 24th of February. I can already hear some of you complain ‘how on earth am I going to manage that’ – but therein lies the very reason. Are you addicted to yourSmartphone? What about your kids? Are we using our devices to make our lives easier or are they in fact ruling every part of our day and impede upon family time, me-time, or most importantly uninterrupted time with our kids?
Showing Signs of Smartphone Addiction?
If you cannot go for 5 hours without your phone – chances are you are your are addicted to your beloved phone. And, while we may have valid excuses to use them, our young children only do so because we sample this for them or hand it to them for our convenience. While we might think it is acceptable to start our day with checking Facebook messages, emails and post likes; and after a long day of frequently checking our screens (on average 10 times in an hour) to finish our day by scrolling before falling asleep, it may not be a good foundation for our little ones.
Concerns about the impacts of smart devices have long been mounting with more research pointing to increasingly addictive behaviour among smartphone users of all ages – but especially young people and children. It is, of course, not about doing without these devices, but raising awareness so we can use them in ways that minimise the negative impacts of them and this especially with our younger generations.
MoodOff Day runs various awareness programs including some focussed on minimising cyber bullying in schools, reducing texting while driving especially among young drivers and on reducing the screen time for young children.
Log onto www.moodoffday.com to learn more about the smartphone addiction awareness campaign, how you can pledge your participation, and support their initiatives.
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Erik Bigalk is a Business Solutionist, serial entrepreneur, an internationally published writer and keynote speaker, quantum coach and founder/CEO of Smart Solutions, a brand communications firm based in Melbourne Australia.