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Face to Face, not Facebook to Facebook

With the recent release of the new iPhone and iWatch, more and more people are jumping in line for the latest and greatest technology. On Friday, I wish I could say it was shocking to see the long line of those who need to have the newest iPhone outside the Apple store at the local mall. The Apple loyal seem to come out in drones anytime Apple releases a new phone, but is it purely out of dedication or are they searching for a better way to distract themsleves? All of this coincides with my personal daily struggle to detach and separate from my own electronics. After working at a desk during the day, you’d think the first thing I’d want to do when I get home is to relax, but rather I find myself connecting to WiFi and seeing updates from my college friends or checking to find the latest breaking news on Twitter. In an effort to make myself less “electronic” reliant, I’ve made a list of the reasons why someone (me) should put down their electronics:

  1. Socially

    It may seem as though you’re being more social while on your phone, but in actuality smartphones are making people less social in face-to-face interactions. According to a recent UCLA study that tested the ability of young people to identify human emotions, smartphones inhibited young people from interacting with those around them. How many times have you been distracted by a conversation or message on an electronic device to the point it takes you away from a real-time conversation with someone offline?

  2. Reduce Anxiety

    Emails, iMessages, Text messages, Twitter notifications, Facebook Inbox messages, etc; do I need to continue? All of these different types of notifications can become overwhelming and produce anxiety. Think about how much you would really be missing in a ten to twenty-minute break away from electronics and notifications. Would the world come crashing down around you if you didn’t answer every email or notification when it happened? You never know what new thing you’ll discover or what you can do with all that extra time.

  3. Save your battery

    Literally and figuratively, taking a break is a great way to save your phone battery and personal energy. Taking a break can help to reduce anxiety, as mentioned in number 2, but it can also help you sleep better. The National Sleep Foundation cites electronic usage near bedtime as disruptive to sleep cycles and an inhibitor to falling asleep.

  4. Think for yourself

    How many times have you gone to Google today, this week, or this month to look up a random fact or to ask about something. As a kid, I remember looking up information in almanacs or dictionaries, which often required time and energy. Now, Google prides itself on telling a user how fast it returns results based on a strange and sometimes incorrect query (it even suggests correct spelling). Have we become too reliant on smartphones that answer us out loud when we ask them questions (I’m looking at you, Siri)?

Have I convinced you yet? Well hopefully not, because otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Taking a step back and putting our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices on hold lets us focus on more important things. For me, putting my electronics down helps to focus on the people in my life that don’t place high importance on checking their social media accounts, text messages, and emails every second of every day. Thus, I vow to put my phone, laptop, tablet down for 30 extra minutes every day to focus on more important things and people in my life.

Want to take your own pledge? Check out Forrester’s Tech Timeout and sign the pledge to take a break from your technology.

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