I recently had this discussion with my dad about how he couldn't survive in today's society without his phone. He seemed to think that he could which was just amusing considering he made 36 calls in one day, uses an ipad, previously lived in a smart house and uses technology more than he eats fruit. It got me thinking though about today's society and my use of technology.
According to Sensis data, 8 in ten people now use social media. This statistic might not seem alarming but wait, there is more.
More than a third of people now access social media more than five times per day (35%), which is up from 26% last year. Among 18-29 year olds 89% check-in at least once per day.
When I read this statistic I thought, what else do I do more than five times a day and apart from maybe one or two things (keep mind out of gutter please) there aren't many things I do therefore social media is occupying way too much of people's head space and time. No wonder people are so freely throwing the tag of 'I'm busy' or 'I'm too stressed' around, its because they are using their time on meaningless, brain numbing things. Please don't get me wrong, I'm an instagrammer and a Facebook nut however I've recently noticed that with any small ounce of spare time I have I seem to be using it to do a meaningless scroll on a program which really isn't going to add too much value to my life apart from the odd comparison, or reading someone venting over traffic.
Two statistics that I felt were a bit concerning surrounding the impacts of Social Media include:
15% of users have felt anxious when unable to access their social media accounts and this number is significantly higher among 18-29 year olds (37%).
Almost 2 in 10 (19%) are happy to check social media while eating with family or friends, with 30-39 year olds the biggest culprits (33%).
What happened to the good old days of eating with family and friends or just having a heartfelt conversation. If you're stuck for conversation starters your trusty friend Google could no doubt help you out. I have a few family members and friends who were born with an extra appendage being their mobile phone. It's like their kidney and livers don't need to function if they have their phone in their hand. It bugs me especially when you can be at a family function, or out to dinner and family members or friends generally older than myself who should have better manners are playing games, or watching Youtube clips or most importantly texting other people or responding to work emails. How can you not sit there and feel that your time is being disrespected. Also, from a mental health perspective and being also in a role where I deal with teens we want to reduce their anxiety, not have them add to it simply because they cant be accessing their accounts every second of every day. Honestly, how do we manage this?
I'm not sure how to solve the problems mentioned above, but in my household now I have a beautifully inviting glass bowl which is calling the names of my visitors who enter my house with their phones. Yes this sounds very uninviting, and I'm sure I'm going to have to buy really expensive champagne to make people forget they don't have their mobile phone attached to them but it is something I'm going to try. The bowl is at the front door, and when people arrive at my house they will be asked to put their phone in the bowl and switch to silent. I will get some grunts, eye rolling and no doubt swearing but my time like anyone else's is precious, and I've invited these people over to my house to spend time with them and continue to build a friendship or relationship or maintain one with them and its important that the process happens without the interruption of a ding, ringtone or notification alert.
I look forward to letting you know how it all goes.