It’s the 21st April 2015 and Sydney is facing another night of cyclonic weather coupled with violent seas. An amusing post by the Bureau of Meteorology warned would-be ocean swimmers of dangerous conditions. Given that on most beaches the sand is traveling horizontally at 55mph and the swell is so angry it starts breaking close to the horizon, I doubt many of sane-mind will be tempted for a dip.
Whilst I may mourn the loss of a morning splash, I love stormy weather and am more than a little excited. It’s a different kind of sensation to when we were children. Indeed, my best childhood memories were formed during the storms of 1989: candlelit in front of an openfire, as my mother dotingly warmed the water for our bath. But this is different. Why? Because not only does the storm bring a novelty ‘disaster mode’ (and accompanying imperative for candles) but because, in approximately 2 hours, my phone - the best charged of all my connected devices - will turn itself off.
I don’t know when our power will come back. I don’t know when I’ll be able to use my phone again.
I am relieved.
Over the past months, maybe the past year, I have started to become increasingly concerned about my own, and others’, dependency on technology, specifically on staying connected. That is not to say technology is a bad thing. To the contrary, society would never have advanced in the way that it has, with the positive developments in health, information sharing and communications (to name a few), which technology has enabled.
However, my concern is that we have become addicted to technology, particularly to being connected, in a way that is not constructive or healthy for ourselves, our relationships or the communities in which we belong. We don’t make choices about how technology can help us, rather we blithely accept technology, 24/7, day-in, day-out, often without a blink or a wink of an eyelid. We don’t think about how we’re using technology. We don’t consciously connect.
I’m not alone with my concerns. In the past few years there have been an increasing number of studies conducted specifically to understand how being connected is affecting our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be looking at this research and dialing down the science to understand exactly what we are doing to ourselves, just to stay online.
My goal? By sharing the complete picture, my hope is that more people might sit-up to the impact of connectivity on our bodies, minds, children and society at large. With information, we are empowered to make choices about how we conduct our lives. We might start to become more mindful of how we use technology. We might start to consciously connect.
Following the release of this blog, I found Breakfree, one of the original and leading phone addiction apps, run by an amazing couple, Nupur and Mrigaen, based in Pune, India. Together we worked together to overhaul Breakfree - to make SPACE. Our goal was simple - to help millions of people to find their phone/life balance.