With the expansion of the technology, people –especially the students- have a vast array of e-communication tools at their fingertips and feel as appertained to them. We know how the smartphone and its cousins, the laptop and tablet, have changed the way we interact with each other, the way we access and retain information, and the way we travel through life. We know that while there are countless positives, easily marketed to us, of this new super-connectivity, this instant-access everything, and always-on mentality, it’s also important to be wary. We’re aware – at least – that by concentrating on these tiny squares for such long periods of our days (and nights) we might be missing out on something out there in the ‘real world’, though we’re not always quite sure what. If we come across a beautiful view, a well- presented meal, an inspiring piece of art, our first reaction now is a simple one: shoot it, share it, and count the likes. We are shocked how lost we feel, how empty- handed, if we find ourselves without our regular prop – even for just a matter of hours. Addicted? Apparently so – smartphone withdrawal symptoms have been compared to that of any other addiction. There are names for new syndromes: 'sleep texting' and 'phantom vibrations'. ‘Nomophobia’ describes our fear of leaving our phones at home.
After my conscious attempt at staying offline, I have come to the the conclusion that I’m frighteningly overdependent on my online life and I must get over it. To do that, I need to take a break from the Internet on a regular basis. With that in mind, I have decided that I will stay completely offline for at least two Sundays a month. I’m hoping that as I get used to these digital time-outs, I will find it easier to increase their frequency without feeling overwhelmed.