Updated: Dec 25, 2020
Our constant chase for stimulation, distraction of one form or another has repercussions that affect not just the individual but our entire species.
You don't have to take my word for it, my opinions are based on my personal experience and from reading, watching and listening to conversations of field or subject-matter experts, results of studies conducted by researchers in the realm of science and so on. I've observed how I interact with technology and how it affects me. Observing your behavior is an essential part of self-scrutiny. Below I'll talk about some measures I took to disconnect from growing impulsive habits of browsing social media.
In observing myself using Facebook I realized I had developed an obsessive habit of engaging with my account rather mindlessly. Not only that but there was a tendency to project myself in a way that garnered likes and comments. I watched myself and assessed my self as I attempted to control that habit because I didn't see much good coming out of it. I began to research about social media's effects on humans. I gradually weaned myself out of the feedback loop. At first by limiting my time on it then limiting how and where I accessed it; for instance, I didn't have the Facebook phone application or didn't have my credentials saved on my browser for quick access. Eventually I reached a point where I closed it down and never looked back.
But then came Snapchat and Instagram I got caught in the hype and it lured me in. But I never used Snapchat too much and deleted it within months but Instagram is something I still fiddle with. I find it useful in a number of ways, one of which is scoping out restaurants and the general food scene in a particular place. I've adapted my use of the tool, i.e. Instagram, as this is something I have full control over. I created multiple profiles and deleted them completely. I used to consider it a good way to conserve phone memory by uploading a few memorable pictures and deleting the rest. This obsession we have with taking pictures and videos deserves its own post. I also uploaded recording of tunes I played on the guitar as I was learning the instrument which allowed me to observe myself as well as see what other thought about them as I practiced. I would go back to listen to the recordings in X amount of time and observe how much I had improved- if any.
However, I noticed I had developed a habit of taking pictures of this that and the other just to post it. Catching myself getting caught up in the feedback loop, again- disengaged from appreciating the moment for itself slightly obsessed with projecting it to my followers. Now, having kicked out all my followers I've been using it as a personal archive of photographed memories to reflect upon- a digital diary of sorts. I used to caption the photos but now only ever so often. It is for my viewing pleasure only, I am no longer tied to this need to project a false, rather pretentious image. I never posted pictures of myself, still don't, but even still I found myself trying to construct this like worthy image. A sense of disgust grew in me towards myself as I engaged in this behavior- I constantly asked myself why am I doing this. As of now I am still working on rewiring myself in disengaging from such behavior.
All in all, technology is here to stay and there will be repercussions to using it and even not using it. What we would collectively benefit from is being unconscious of how we are engaging with technology. The point would be to control the aspect you can directly influence i.e. how you the individual use it. As it is, we are wired for immediate gratification- you pick a ripe fruit from a tree you bite into it and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor right then and there. Technology builds on to this need, especially when it by design caters to our conveniences. By giving into these conveniences we fail to materialize how they impact us or others on a larger scale. The impact isn't observed much in the short term, more so in the long term. We only focus on the perceived positives and are distracted from its potential harms when we internally debate its use.
We all have the ability to disconnect. We all need to occasionally disconnect in-order to reconnect with the moment, reconnect with people immediately around us, reconnect with the natural world and realize there are many things that technology still can't provide us. Technology need not be shunned but rather embraced with the awareness that as with anything it too needs to be consumed or utilized in moderation.
A limited insight on how technology has affected us from a conversation between Neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and Sam Harris, Neuroscientist and Podcast Host, found at the link below: