Our love affair with digital is over.
It seems like forever, but it’s been only 12 years since the iPhone first seduced us. Can we remember a time when we didn’t have the sleek feel of a device in the palm of our hand?
Can we remember a time when “app” wasn’t even a word, when we didn’t care how many “likes” we had.
Now the pendulum has swung back and we are starting to see the price we might be paying when we cut ourselves off from human contact in favor of digital technology. Increasingly, evidence shows that this price includes the erosion of our mental and physical health, the dominance of trolls and fake news, and the monetization of our every tap by technology monopolies like Facebook and Google.
We now realize that we are looking at screens more than human faces and that we are starved for real connection. The fact is we have woken up to the fact that likes on Instagram are only pitiful shadows cast on the wall by the fire of real human presence. Day by day, click by click, our social selves are slowly being starved.
Connection through digital devices just isn’t the same as the comforting voice or presence of a friend.
We now have more wisdom than we started with twelve years ago. Unlike the binary logic we’ve come to admire, many of us now know that it’s not an all or nothing choice. We might decide to turn off our devices more often so that our time with ourselves and others is not constantly interrupted. We might pay attention to how time on our phone seems to have a direct and causal impact on our levels of stress and anxiety. We might notice how the tidal pull of needing to “document the moment” through digital photos blocks us from savoring the actual experience.
These observations lead to choices we can make on a daily basis. We might even decide to walk down the sidewalk without clutching a device. We might just enjoy the awe we feel when we immerse ourselves in a beautiful sunny day.