Sometimes I feel like the line between our digital and physical lives is so entwined it can be hard to switch one off so you can really enjoy the other.
Is this an issue or is it evolution? I feel guilty about the time I spend on my phone and people get annoyed at me for it. But, as a generation brought up on phones – are we making ourselves feel guilty for the wrong reasons? Is it just more pressure… another opportunity to get something wrong?
I think about what I do on my phone. It’s me time. It’s time chatting with friends, laughing and joking. It’s an extension of my social life, a place I can express myself and be creative. Is that something I should feel guilty about?
Take the digital context away and answer me – is it really so bad? If I had a hobby that provided me with a wider view, helped me to stay in touch with friends and be more creative and expressive – would people really feel like it was such a bad thing?
The same applies to so many. A parent uses their phone for reassurance and advice, as an opportunity to share memories and as an outlet for when times get hard. Are they shit for spending time doing so… I’m not so sure?
A kid uses an iPad in a restaurant – essentially a contemporary colouring book… is it a bad thing from time to time – again I’m not sure.
And finally a teenager is on their phone 24/7 because they need to feel connected. They use it for revision, broadening their views, talking with friends and yeah – doing things that teenagers do.
The thing is, we’re made to feel guilty about screen time. There are scare stories telling us to reduce our hours and to undertake these digital detoxes. I myself have written about it. But how about if we just stop and think for a second.
When electricity became common place – did people feel guilty about flicking a switch instead of striking a match… I think not. So why the hell are we beating ourselves up for embracing technology.
Yes face to face time is important and yes enjoying the here and now is important. But so is moving forward, broadening our views, staying connected and expressing ourselves. Can’t we just strike a happy balance?
If being on my phone allows me to do these positive things, then sorry… I’m going to stay on my phone. Because I’ve created my own online community and it’s pretty much a reflection of my offline community – meaning I can stay in touch with and enjoy my friends more.
Instead of feeling guilty about using technology – why can’t we just promote a healthy use of it?
And maybe we also need to think about redefining what quantifies as healthy use too. Because at the moment I get a bashing every time I go on my phone yet the reason for doing it – nine times out of ten – is to be a supportive friend, or to make someone feel good, or to stay connected with what’s going on in the world, or hell – make myself feel good! And that’s OK because it’s a hobby!
In a nutshell I’m sick of feeling bad about using my phone. Yes I use it a lot but I also use electricity loads too – so you know… progression!