This Holiday Season, Say Sayonara To Technology

I have a confession. A confession that disturbs me deeply and needs to be addressed.

I am a complete technology addict.

Receiving a text message gives me a blissful, momentary high.  A day without access to the internet is a sad day.  If a couple of days go by and I haven’t signed onto Facebook (like that ever happens), I get antsy and feel out of the loop. This loathsome habit isn’t exactly an insightful revelation that came from deep soul searching or a problem unique to myself. Because, let’s be honest – you, dear reader, are probably just as addicted as I am.

I mean sure, anyone who’s seen a few episodes of Intervention knows there are far worse things to be addicted to and I’m not harming other people by logging onto Facebook five times every day.  I’m not even sure I am hurting myself.

What I do know is that our addiction can interfere with the quality of interpersonal interactions, focus in class, and other activities deserving of one’s undivided attention.

This is a day in my life:
I go to class and at least half of the people in attendance are not paying attention to the lecture.  They are either a) texting, b) shopping online, or c) on Facebook.
I go on a date and my date begins randomly texting somebody while pretending to listen to me at the same time. Annoying!
Even this past Thanksgiving my fourteen-year-old cousin was playing videogames on her iPhone at the dinner table.

It’s like everyone is perpetually bored and needs to use technology to alleviate themselves from their sorry state of boredom.

As finals and the holiday season are upon us, why not put in the effort to disengage and take a vacation from technology.  You might do better on your exams and can reconnect with yourself, your family and friends.  It would be hard to imagine going completely cold-turkey on technology (it was hard enough for one CollegeCandy writer to go cold-turkey on Facebook!), and after all, technology does have its merits, but with a few simple modifications, you might find the holiday season to be that much richer. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Host tech free gatherings. Invite the girls over for a movie night or old-school sleepover, but inform them ahead of time that cell phones are persona non grata. You can even offer a “tech check” where your BFFs can check their phones at the door and claim them once the night is over. Talk about bonding time!

2. Make exercise a time to connect with yourself and leave the distractions and stress of your every day behind. Create motivating playlists with your favorite music to keep you focused and pumped during your workouts, but leave gadgets that connect you to the outside world inside your locker. You’ll focus more on your workout and even give yourself some much needed time with your thoughts.

3. Implement a “tech curfew.” Let your friends and family know that at a certain time, you will not be available. Establish that time and turn off your technology. Without chimes and reminders that you have mail, a text message and constant Facebook updates that pull for a response, you will claim a lot of extra time for yourself and perhaps reconnect with something called relaxation.

4. Tech charge time. Leave the house willingly without any form of technology. At first you may be uncomfortable with how naked you feel as you re-experience everyday activities without your phone, but after the initial shock you will be surprised at how liberating it is to NOT be accessible.

With the holiday season approaching, it is the perfect time to reconnect with family and enjoy some time to ourselves. Our Digital Self needs a break too, so why don’t you and I turn off our BlackBerrys, Droids, and iPhones and tune into opportunities to be tech free-not all the time, but enough to feel a nice change.

The Weekly Ten: This Semester Needs to End
The Weekly Ten: This Semester Needs to End
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