Being connected to the world has become such an essential part of our lives that it’s difficult to think about how we used to survive without it. In fact, I think I read somewhere that internet access might have been added to the bottom tier of Maslow’s hierarchy, with basic necessities such as food, water and access to shelter. I mean, how crazy is that?!
Almost everything is now online or needs an internet connection to work, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped that situation. Yes, it’s fantastic that with the need to stay home and social distance, we have the means to do it all from a laptop in bed, so long as the internet’s working, but what does that mean for our addiction to connectivity? If anything, I think the pandemic has made our attachment and addiction to connectivity that much stronger because it’s shown just how little we can survive without being connected…
And that, for me, is an absolutely terrifying thought…
I started thinking about this while I’ve been in the bush because one of the key things about being out here is there’s no cell signal, so turning on your data to check Instagram or your WhatsApp messages isn’t exactly possible unless the place you’re staying has wifi. Fear not, though, because if the wifi works and is strong enough, then you can still connect to the rest of the world and not feel like someone has completely unplugged you.
However, what happens if the wifi doesn’t work? Or it’s not strong enough to download emails? All of a sudden, you start to get this nervous twitch and an itch in your fingers to stay updated and connected, but you can’t.
It’s scary how instinctive it now is to reach for your phone to google a fact or anything random that pops into your head, for that matter. Or what about just needing to check your WhatsApp or dm’s in case a super urgent message had come through, even though you know that the last time you got sent an urgent message like that was two years ago when your mom was running late to fetch you, and you weren’t going to make it to a school event or date in time. Or, even more terrifying, how when we’re bored or just want something mindless to do, we reach for our phone to scroll through social media.
Now imagine you couldn’t do that – it’s actually so creepy how unsettling it feels knowing that you can’t do any of that. As soon as I realised how dependent we are on connectivity, I realised just how far gone I was. Are we really so reliant on connectivity now that it’s impossible to unplug? I’ve heard of things like caffeine withdrawals, but I think digital/connection withdrawals are definitely a thing too.
I’ve always known that technology can be addictive. In all honesty, it’s part of the reason why I moved off social media for a while. However, coming here and having such difficulties getting internet full stop has been a wakeup call like no other.
Like I said, the pandemic has definitely sped up connectivity innovations and ensured that all you need to do practically anything nowadays is a device and a somewhat steady internet connection. It’s fantastic and super handy, especially for someone like me who has had to do university remotely. However, it’s not without its evils, and the fact that our whole life now depends on internet connection (even something as simple as grocery shopping or messaging someone) does pose some problems.
Going forward, I’m definitely going to try and do some more of these digital detoxes, as impossible as it sounds… Because as weird as it feels, it’s pretty refreshing not to be so dependent on my phone and having the constant notifications of messages, emails, reminders, and all of that other white noise that has become so integral to our daily lives that we feel scared or weird when it’s gone. It’s also a surprising stress reliever once you get over the anxiety of not knowing exactly what’s going on every second or being instantly connected.
Soooo I pose this challenge to you as well – try to do a digital detox for one day. Hide your phone in a drawer somewhere, leave your laptop alone and say no to internet connection for a whole day and see how you feel afterwards. Also, do you agree with me that we’ve become too dependent on connectivity? Do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing that our whole lives are online? What are your thoughts on all this? I hope I’m not the only one saying it’s potentially problematic that everything is online; otherwise, I’m really going to feel old, and my uni friends will never let me hear the end of it.
Let’s chat in the comments section – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx