Life & FamilyAugust 22, 2013

From His Perspective: Technology Addiction

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Before I let Andrew take the stage, I just wanted to say thank you so much for your thoughtful, detailed and incredibly helpful comments yesterday!  It’s such a help to me in attempting to create something useful, funny, beautiful and cool for you. Many, many thanks. -EG

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I am finally ready to admit it. I have a serious problem with Candy Crush (besides getting to the next level) **note from Erin– he’s on level 323 people. 323!!!  I play it too much. It fills my free time. If not that, then Words With Friends and Angry Birds. Or Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn (not huge on Twitter).  Or emails and texts. If I am not on my computer I am on my phone, kindle or iPad. And in our house of two, I am the least of the offenders. (*cough- bullshit-cough*)

It bothers me that it has come to this. I went to take the dogs for a walk this morning, forgot my phone, and had a quick panic attack. What would I do while they were sniffing! I will get so bored! What if I miss a call or don’t respond to an email right away?

When Erin and I go out to dinner it is painful for us to not be on our phones. So usually we are. And I know we look like douche bags. What couple goes out to dinner and sits there on their respective phones? I have a picture of us in Paris, with her father, sitting down for a drink, both head down in their phone. I took that picture with my phone. *That last part is true, but we aren’t on our phones all dinner, come on now Andrew, we are THAT couple. Or are we?

I can’t watch TV anymore without my phone. What would I do during the commercials. Or boring parts of the movie. What if someone updated their Facebook status and we were watching the same show! At the same time!

I am not trying to be funny when I say it actually scares me. How did I acquire this need for constant entertainment? For instant gratification? What the hell will this develop into? Is this bad? It has to be…right?

Erin and I got in a minor argument over this the other night. She said she couldn’t go a full week without “connecting”. She couldn’t unplug from the Matrix. My argument was that she could and should. That the world won’t end without her input for a week. Even design emergencies can be handled by someone else or put on hold. She doesn’t believe that. And I am a hypocrite because I have the same issues. I can’t remember the last time I went a week without my phone. Can you?

We have done this to ourselves. We have trained everyone around us to expect an answer quickly. And we expect it in return. When you call someone and they don’t answer, you know they see your number. Why aren’t they answering! I know they saw my email or text. Ugh.

Tim Ferris, of The Four-Hour Work Week, suggests purposefully not responding to people right away. He started with waiting until the end of the day. Then the end of the week. An now the end of the month, if at all. Email is the worst time suck we have as a society. It is constantly interrupting us. If something is really that important it will either get figured out or they will call you! Email suggests that it isn’t that important that I need a response right away. If it was an emergency you would call. You wouldn’t email 911 if there was a robber in your house.

Don’t get me wrong. Technology is changing our lives for the better in so many ways. We can do so much more, see so much more, know so much more. But as I have said before, to grow you need to challenge yourself and get uncomfortable. Maybe growth sometimes means digressing every so often.

My challenge to Erin and myself is to unplug. Let’s not get crazy and do it for a week. But maybe at 6:30pm, every night for a week, we unplug. No phone. No computer. Just us, the dogs, a little TV (I realize that is not unplugged, but baby steps people), and some closeness. Too many marriages result in divorce because people “grew apart”. It is because they stopped growing together. It takes effort to grow together and the first step is personal interaction. Technology is fantastic, but it can hinder one-on-one interactions. I think we all need to unplug every once in awhile.

-Andrew

* While I completely agree that we spend WAY too much time on our phones and computers, I validate my constant Instagram, Facebook, blogging, web surfing a.k.a. “research” as WORK, because it is. I can’t possibly go offline for an entire week, my career is online! But I agree that we could seriously use a break to clear my head.  you know, take a walk with my head up, not trying to pick out the perfect filter for an Instagram picture (if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen, right?) I’d happily try 24 hours without using our phones (other than for calls) or computers. Oh man, I’m getting hives just thinking about it.

Have you ever taken a Tech Break?

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