I recently posted on Instagram the following ‘sign of the times’. It really is so noticeable these days, isn’t it, how glued we have all become to technology.
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Literal sign of the times… Repost from @theeconomist using @RepostRegramApp – A road sign warns drivers that they may encounter pedestrians who are deeply absorbed in their smartphones, in Stockholm, Sweden on February 2nd 2016. Credit: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand #hazardwarning #Sweden #Stockholm #roadsigns #mobilephone #cellphone #signs #silhouette
Incredible, isn’t it? Yet, as I sit here typing these words, I can feel the tension in my own neck and shoulders and I know that, although I am not necessarily peering at my phone all day, I am also not the best model for good posture. If the medical articles are right, we seem all too easily to become addicted to our devices; like sugary drinks, it can be hard to say no. People are becoming slaves of the very technology that is supposed to be helping them.
So what is the answer? Sure, there is advice and various tips in the articles about stretching, exercising, hydrating etc. But perhaps something a little more drastic is in order?
Something which seems to be gathering traction is the idea of replacing one’s smart phone with a ‘dumb phone’. Yes – people are ditching their iPhones and Samsung Galaxys (other models are available) in favour of a good old Nokia or the like.
I’m really pleased for them, and if this is their optimal solution, then so be it. For me, though, this makes the problem seem too black and white. As if a single issue can be resolved with just one answer. Life is more complicated than that.
In any event, I think we should push ourselves to rise above this challenge. Surely it is not beyond us to own tools which we have the power to put down when we want to do other things? Or from which we can step away to avoid making us sick? Let’s put living first, supported by whatever helps us to achieve our best selves, meeting our goals, aspirations, and values.