Technology & the ‘Constant Availability’ Dilemma.

I’ve recently noticed someone’s email signature having next to their phone number a ‘texts only’ notice.

The anxiety of who’s calling and why has to do with the culture of being always available. That leaves us vulnerable, lacking control over our own time. Texting is softer, but still quite intrusive.

Real-life scenarios:

you’re cooking dinner – someone messaged you – you drop everything – the food gets burnt

you’re walking on the street – message – you don’t look where you’re going – you get hit by a car

you’re in the park looking at the sky – message – you reply – a pigeon shits on you

We can’t tell people to text us or call us in a certain time interval. What can we do?

  1. Set aside time to check your phone – it can be three times a day of 20 minutes sessions
  2. Turn off notifications. The texts, missed calls, will all be there. Unless you’re a doctor or the president of the country. Then you might wanna get that.
  3. Take time to be on your phone out of *your own time*. Don’t make people – friends, kids, spouse – watch you while texting or speaking on the phone. If they’ve committed their time to you, be respectful of it.
  4. And finally, don’t expect things from people. Don’t expect them to always pick up. Not even your spouse. Expect from yourself that you can handle situations on your own without putting pressure on someone else.

In case you wonder, I did take my own advise and yes, I still have a support network. Controlling my phone time allows me to build more meaningful relationships and interactions in the present moment. It teaches me to work with what I’ve got and make the most out of it. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself.

It’s Time to Bring Up the Flying Elephant in the Room: Social Media & Adolescents

Grownups are known to have an interesting relationship with their adolescent children and even more so with social media. As a results, social media and raising teenagers comes with eyebrows lifted, empty threats and doors slamming.

Research by Dr Sarah Cayne comes to the rescue to diffuse situations where parents of short temper and teenagers of quick action have to negotiate on the use of social media.

As it turns out, the same rules should apply to both parents and teenagers. This includes winding down at least one hours before going to sleep with no screen-time and most importantly: be an active user.

Scrolling through life, may it be your life or others’, is short of any benefits. Dr Cayne advises to set the intentions before going on social media – do you want to engage with the latest #Ronaldo trend or see what the Kardashians are up to? That’s fine. Engage with their audience, become part of the community and be kind in the process.

Trying to escape boredom through passive action doesn’t work. Social media is as good of a tool as you make it.

Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.

Melinda Gates

Resources:

Does time spent on social media impact mental health? New BYU study shows screen time isn’t the problem.