Gary Turk – Look Up
Are we digital dummies ? Unfortunately we are. We are so preoccupied with technology that the idea of not having technology in our lives terrifies us. When you think of it, it really wouldn’t harm you to “unplug” for once. Unplugging is when you purposefully stop using your technological devices for a given amount of time, be it 2 hours, 10 hours, 24 hours, or if you want to take it to an extreme level, A WHOLE WEEK ! Scary, right ? No technology for a whole week, being away from technology for a week could mean that you won’t know what Amy said about Chrissy on Twitter. You will not know whether someone you used to go to school with got married or not. How will you know your crush’s relationship status if you’re not connected? How will you keep up with all the celebrity drama. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, is it really important for me to know all of this stuff ? will it really benefit me in my life, or the afterlife (if you believe in one) ?
Unfortunately, we reached a point where we are enslaved by technology. We go to a party not to socialise, but to dig our faces in our phone screens until the party comes to an end. We use our phones to avoid people that we don’t want to talk to in the street, or in the university, or in the coffee shop. We go out to have a family dinner at a very fancy restaurant, and the first thing we do is fish for our phones, and start browsing or texting. In the past, what was the first thing you say when you first arrive at your friend’s house ? “Hey, how are you”. Nowadays, what’s the first thing you say when you get to your friend’s house ? “Hey, ummm, what’s the Wi-fi password?” We are living in the virtual world, and we’ve neglected the real world. Our phones, Televisions, and Laptops are like portals to a different reality, a reality that is so far from our “real” reality.
From a personal experience, I can tell you what has technology done to me. I am a gamer, a blogger, and an artist, so there are times when I have to resort to using my laptop, or gaming console for long hours of the day. I enjoy using technology a lot, but it has affected my social skills as well as my social life. I used to be great at making friends, I even used to have the courage to talk to people I didn’t know very much, but ever since I got attached to the internet, I stopped making friends in real life. I felt like the friends i’ve made online, who are mainly male gamers and otaku were all the friends I needed. It was also due technology that my relationship with my family got massively disturbed. Since I always spend time in my room, either watching anime, playing video games, or watching Youtube videos, the time I get to spend with my family became very limited. I have reached a point where my family thinks that I don’t exist, because I am always in my room doing something on the internet. Unfortunately, technology has also affected my physical, and mental health. Long hours of video games, and internet use (I’m talking the whole day, that is if I don’t have errands to run, or uni to attend) equals no sleep, or a bad sleeping pattern, and a bad sleeping pattern equals bad health. Due to the long hours of video games and internet use, I began to suffer from sleep deprivation, and according to what I read, not sleeping well could affect your brain process, and it could disturb your neurotransmitters as well. I also have gained a lot of weight due to my excessive use of the internet. It is all connected after all, my excessive use of the internet lead to a disturbance in my sleeping pattern, and my disturbed sleeping pattern lead to me having bad health. And let’s not forget about how my social skills got disturbed. I have been suffering a lot, and I would like to stop using technology for a while, but I know that this is impossible, since we live in a world where your tasks cannot be achieved without the use of technology. Today I have learned the term “unplugging”, and I really liked the idea of it.
In the Intro to IT class, we were introduced to the concept of “unplugging”, and as I explained previously, unplugging is when you refrain from using technology for a given amount of time. I was fascinated by the idea, because I wanted to experiment how would this make me feel at the end of the day. We had to spend 2 hours without technology, but I decided to give myself 24 hours without technology, and the results were very good. I started my day by taking a walk at the neighbourhood park, and this made me inhale some fresh air instead of the artificial air that is blown from the air conditioner. By lunch time, I came back home and I helped my mother with some chores. Usually, this is something that I don’t always have the time to do, but since I was unplugging today, I had the chance to bond with my mother while doing a bunch of housework and cooking. After lunch, I went to my room, and I read 1984 by “George Orwell”, which is an interesting dystopian book that tells the story of a man who is living in a world where EVERYTHING is monitored. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I am intrigued by the concepts that were presented in the book After that, I took a nap, and for the first time I had to wake up without an alarm, which was difficult. It made me wonder how did people wake up before the invention of the Alarm. After that, I grabbed my sketchbook, and I completed my drawing, and then I drew an outline for another drawing. At the end of the day, I hung around at the kitchen with my family, and we laughed together (and at each other). After dinner, we sat outside in the mildly cold air. Since I was the only one unplugging, I felt sad to see that while we were sitting together, my sister and my mother were both checking their iPads, and I was the only one who was trying to hold up the conversation. For once, I was put in the place of most of my friends who always ramble about how I always use my phone whenever I go out with them. I now found out how disturbing it is to talk to someone while they’re busy fidgeting with their phones. By the end of the night, I just grabbed George Orwell’s 1984 novel, and I continued reading. I managed to spend 24 hours with my family without being bombarded by technology, and this made me realise that there are so many things I am taking for granted, and quality time with my family is one of them.
So, after ranting and babbling about technology and unplugging, it is safe to conclude that what we need to do more often is to unplug for once. We should try to spend a day without using technology. Maybe that will make us realise the amount of things that we are missing. Instead of using your phone to avoid someone in the hallway, why don’t you just simply smile and say hi to them ? Instead of going to your friend’s house only so you’d end up being on your phone all the time, why don’t you toss the phone out of the window, and ask your friend to go out for lunch or something? Instead of being on your phone all the time while your family members are talking around the dinner table, why don’t you just sit down and listen to what they have to say ? Talk, engage, communicate ! I really don’t know how to end this rant, so before I could finally end this, I just have one last question, do you really know how the real world looks like ? or are you more used to the virtual world? Have you even tried to imagine how the world looks like from outside your phone screen ?