ON AIR: In My Day

6PM - Midnight

Kate Hawkesby: Time to put the cellphone down

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 30 Jan 2019, 6:55AM
The little handheld device has become our whole world. Our weather forecaster, our map, our dinner or ride order service, our camera, our calendar, our biggest distraction. Photo / Getty Images

Kate Hawkesby: Time to put the cellphone down

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 30 Jan 2019, 6:55AM

I feel like the backlash is on against cellphones. And honestly, not before time.

The little handheld device has become our whole world. Our weather forecaster, our map, our dinner or ride order service, our camera, our calendar, our biggest distraction.

There seems literally no limit to what we will document these days either.

The woman with a suspected drug overdose being stretchered to an ambulance by paramedics the other day, pausing to take a selfie from the stretcher, is all the evidence you need that we’re a world gone digitally mad.

So here comes the pushback, look at what we’re seeing, a resurgence of the old, not-so-smart phones. Phones that just work for phone calls, and have batteries that last beyond lunchtime. Nokia relaunched its old models, even Apple's introduced features which give you time limits.

Chiropractors and physio’s warnings about the damage to necks and spines, even in very young children, is only getting louder as our cellphone use skyrockets.

Schools and workplaces are implementing device bans, schools blocking social media sites, some companies limiting personal screentime, even cafes are advertising wifi-free time, forcing people to engage face to face.

A Swedish hotel just yesterday advertised cheaper room stays for people who don’t use social media. The less time you spend on your phone, the bigger discount you’ll get on your room.

The author of the famous teen novel, 'The Fault in Our Stars’, John Green, said recently that he’d abandoned social media for a whole year. This was a big move given his millions of followers, but he admitted to feeling addicted to checking in all the time, so he took a year off. He found that after just a month, he was happier, less anxious. He had clearer thoughts, a less fractured attention span, he was able to allow himself to be bored. (Which is a good thing by the way).

So has our obsession with technology left a lot of us feeling fried? Strung out? Permanently on? Are we at saturation point, where we’ve literally lost the ability to monitor and limit ourselves?

Kids and teens certainly have, but I think if we're honest, many of us adults have too.

I digitally detoxed a bit this summer, and I found it extremely refreshing but also confronting. Having to operate without the thing that we’re so connected to, and reliant on, is frustrating. I realised how much I use my phone, but in putting it down, the thing I got back the most, was time.

So with the robots coming, our virtual lifestyles, our saturation digital communications, will there be more push back as we hark back to simpler times?

Or has that ship sailed? Are we all so addicted now we can’t stop?

I know if my digital detox is anything to go by, hitting the off switch is essential, but it’s not easy.

ON AIR: In My Day

6PM - Midnight