- Internet & the Web
Meditation Cure for Addiction to Social Media, Texting, Phones
Are we becoming addicted and too dependent on high-tech devices such as smartphones and social media? Do you habitually grab your iPhone for everything, even when you have no need for it? Is you phone always on and do you always pick it up immediately when you get a call or text?
Do you Google for everything you need to now? Siri Please Help!
Does the endless stream of text messages interfere with our sense of being in charge and in control.
Do you allow the constant stream of message distract you, destroying concentration and attention spans? If your answer is Yes - You and I and every modern human is addicted to Social Media and the phone!
Texting as a Time Wasterand Stressor
The average teenager send and receives 75 messages a day, that's 5 messages every waken hour, one every 12 minutes they are awake. Have you noticed how everyone, everywhere is texting something, or staring at screens. All conversations, at work, at school, at home, or even when relaxing can be being interrupted by 'You have a new Message" that must be answered immediately. The average person spends 8 hours a day looking a screens, big and large. Most people listen to music in their mp3 players or smartphones when walking, working, travelling and relaxing. This article explores how this constant bombardment of information this is affecting us and what we can do about it.
Endless Texting and Social Media are Health Hazards
Doctors and social workers are becoming concerned about the impact of social media on general health and mental health. Texting thumb can be a very painful repetitive strain injury (see: Thumb Pain from Texting - Causes, Treatment, Prevention). Research has shown that peer rejection and a lack of close friends is a major cause of depression and negativity in adolescents. Cyber bullying is a growing problem. Even the heaviest social media say they are often bored, are less content and more likely to get into trouble than moderate users. Many teenagers feel ostracised when they don't get messages and spend endless hours sending out messages so that they will get replies. They beg people to allow them to be friends on Facebook. No messages is the end of the world. Lack of adequate sleep and late night sessions also causes health problems in adolescents. About 20% of teenagers get inadequate sleep, and some schools have considered delaying stat times by an hours because the pupils go to bed very late playing games and texting. Sleep is interrupted by late night text messages. Many parents have reverted to installing timers on modems to exert some control on internet use late at night.
The Sound of Silence
Everyone, everywhere has to be listening to music all the time at work, going to work, when walking, when working out, when exercising, when relaxing, all the time, WHY? Inattention causes accidents as distracted people walk out in front of cars they cannot hear, or run into things they don't see because they are staring at screens. I heard a radio interview recently discussing the tourist wonders of Lake Mungo which is an eerie place in outback Australia. The interviewer asked what was the most memorable experience on the trip and was surprised with the answer - "The Absolute Silence at Night, You could not hear anything". Many Australians don't like the remote bush and outback areas because of he silence even during the day. Why are humans disturbed by the sound of silence. Why must there always be sound?
Time is Needed to Process our Thoughts and to Forget
Past memories become rosier in time as we forget things and the memories are re-processed by our brains. We need time to forget. But we are barraged with a perpetual stream of visual and mental images that our brains have no 'down times' for re-processing and purging. There is an overload of information on the input side and no time to use the trash button to forget things.
Spending Too Much Time Sharing Destroys Contemplation
The need for instant sharing drives us to take an endless stream of photographs while on holidays. Instead of spending time taking in the beautiful scenery, we ruin the occasion for ourselves, by taking tens or hundreds of photographs. Every walk or tourist adventure becomes a photo shoot. The internet has upped the ante on quality so that we must spend of time, eliminating the bloopers and trying to get the perfect shot. Why?There's thousands or perfect images about every location that can be found by Googling, so why do we bother. Why does everything have to be shared? What has happened to quiet contemplation. Our effort to share denies us time to contemplate and to have time for ourselves.
We have no Time for Daydreams and we don't Dream as much at Night
Daydreams and dreaming at night are very important for solving problems. But when do we have time to daydream in modern society. Dreaming is required to sift through all the helter-skelter of data streaming in throughout the day, re-processing it and deciding what we need to remember and what we can afford to forget. Dreams are also an attempt to search for associations between seemingly unrelated experiences and make logical links between them to help our understanding, which can only be done when we are unconscious. If we sleep less we dream less. The endless bombardment of information overload during the day cancels our daydreams, so we have no time for contemplation and dreaming the night away.
Is High-Tech Destroying our Sense of being able to do Something Unique and Personally Satisfying?
The internet has millions of photos, millions of recipes, millions of 'how to things', gigabytes of information. It is all so easily available. Everyone now has the sense that 'Its All been Done Before' and no one tries to be original anymore. This takes time to concentrate and work things out - but we no longer have this time.
Is High-Tech Clatter Destroying Attention Spans and our Ability to Concentrate?
The constant stream of text messages and our need to be always available means that we are always being disturbed and interrupted. The number of text messages is increasing every year and Nielsen reported that in 2010, teens sent or received 3,339 texts per month on average, which is equivalent to 6 texts on average for every waking hour. Teenage girls are even more active, sending 4,050 texts per month (7 texts per hour). This creates a constant stream of interruptions. How can we concentrate?
Research has shown that juggling phone calls, e-mail text messages and other information can change how people behave and think. The ability to focus and concentrate is being undermined by the machine gun bursts of data. While many people claim that multitasking can make them more productive, research shows that the opposite is true for many people. Heavy multitaskers have been found to have more trouble focusing and concentrating and shutting out irrelevant information. Multitaskers look for new information all the time rather than putting the existing, more valuable information they already have to work.
Most businesses have banned personal emails at work but virtually everyone has a mobile phone and while open offices discourage personal conversions this does not apply to texting. The same applies to schools and colleges where texting during classes often occurs despite attempts to ban mobile phones.
Is High-Tech Clatter Destroying Creativity?
We don't think anymore, we Google for everything. This has destroyed our ability to work things out for ourselves. Also research has shown that our brains need to switch off incoming data sources to figure out complex issues. Daydreaming and quiet times seem to be the source for inspiration and creative discovery in the brain. How can we be creative when we are engaged all the time in the social media.
Recognising the Need for Quite Times is Nothing New
Step One - Turn It OFF for 30 minutes a day
Step Two - Try meditation for 30 minutes a day
More and more modern people seem to be looking to tai chi, yoga, exercise or meditation to relieve stress Some people turning off their online connections all weekend from Friday night to Monday morning and to participate in those ancient rituals known as conversation, doing stuff together and meals with family and friends. Many people go on long walks every weekend and “forget” to take their phones. Other take holidays in areas that are outside of mobile range. The company VW, following demands from their employees stopped their servers sending emails to shift workers when were off duty.
© 2012 Dr. John Anderson