The Challenge of Disconnecting in the Era of New Technologies

July 19, 2019
With all the positive things that new technologies have brought, especially the ability to connect people to each other, it also has certain negative aspects. Abusing them can be harmful, which is why it's necessary to know when and how to disconnect from them.

Can we really disconnect from technology while being near our phones or computers? Are we able to put our devices on airplane mode and have a break from new technologies? Is it healthy to show ourselves available 24/7 to anyone who needs us? As with almost everything that surrounds us nowadays, new technologies are always innovating and offer us a world of possibilities. However, many people have become way too obsessed with being connected to the online world, to the point where they forget about reality. What happens when we cross the line?

As of now, always being one click away from availability (be it by email, social networks, or phone calls) is considered a distinctive feature of a caring, hard-working, generous person or even an ideal partner. The truth is that, although being there for other people is important, you’re the most important person in your life. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget what’s crucial for you.

The lives some individuals portray online are different from the ones they really face. It’s important to realize that the online world is like a theater, an artificial setting. That being said, disconnecting from your online presence from time to time is what will allow you to distinguish between one and the other.

When sending a text, we all expect the receptor to answer right away. This has become a norm in some way. However, it may not always be healthy. Knowing what your partner or friends do every minute of the day can be damaging. Expecting your friends to answer your messages immediately is very unhealthy. Had you thought about this before?

We all have the right to be by ourselves. No matter how extroverted you might be, people need their privacy. That’s why going offline every once in a while is important. We deserve to disconnect, close our eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on our mental state.

A woman holding a smartphone.

What happens if we go online?

Some people think being available online all the time is key. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean they’re right. It’s crazy how much new technologies have advanced, to the point where now there are mental health professionals talking about how being on our smartphone all day long can be detrimental to our health.

Someone’s real life may be incredibly different from the one they show on social media. Someone who posts a lot of pictures isn’t necessarily happy, and those who respond instantly aren’t better than those who take longer to do so.

A healthy way to approach new technologies is to use them for personal gain and not the other way around. Don’t become their slaves. Remember that you’re free to decide when and how to use them. You can choose what to publish and at what time and when to answer your messages. In addition, anyone who appreciates you will value and respect your private life.

The Internet and new technologies, in general, give us the opportunity to take responsibility for the use we make of technologies and the example we give to children. The problem relies on the fact that all the possibilities that bring us closer to others can also trap us and enslave us to the digital world.

“It has become apallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

-Albert Einstein-

Two girlfriends hugging while having coffee.

New technologies, new ways of life

Many times, new technologies represent a new way of relating to those around us and even living life. As of now, we have no other choice but to adapt to this reality.

For example, if we want to drift apart from someone, we can block them in our social media platforms, delete their number, restrict their calls, among other things. Same goes if we want to meet someone new: we’re just one click away from learning a lot about them, sometimes more than that person would want.

That being said, it’s your duty to learn how far we want to go with social media or technology in general. How much information are you going to share online? How much time are you going to spend on your devices? Once you have this clear, you’ll be ready to make healthy use of new technologies, without letting them control you.

Nowadays, we have the opportunity to communicate with those who are far away from us with a single click. However, if your loved ones are close to you, there’s nothing better than spending time with them in real life; hanging out with them, having face-to-face conversations. Let’s not forget about the importance of real contact.

New technologies can be a double-edged sword. It’s up to you to decide when to go offline and live your reality. Do you dare to disconnect?

“The real problem isn’t whether machines think but whether men do.”

-B. F. Skinner-