The real vs the virtual: is one overtaking the other?

Updated: Aug 27

This seems like a hypocritical topic to write about, given that I am literally using my laptop to type up this blog entry- but hear me out.


In this day and age, it is impossible to escape our gadgets completely- but that does not mean we cannot limit our exposure to them.


You need your laptop for work during the day, but do you really need to binge watch six hours of Netflix a day? Do you really need to spend hours upon hours scrolling mindlessly through your social feeds?


I know it’s addictive, and we’re all guilty of this, but unfortunately, the toll of excess screen time is too high.


Our increased screen time has led us to become lazy and to move less, and to not be fully present when we are around friends and family. It has a profound impact on our brain activity, our ability to sleep, and on our mental health.


As technology continues to progress, and we rapidly move towards more virtual-based communities and experiences, we need to question how these interactions will further impact us, and whether we will end up losing our true sense of self and existence in the process. How much of your life is happening in the real vs. the virtual world? And how can you ensure that you are balancing both?


1. LIMIT SCREEN TIME TO CERTAIN HOURS OF THE DAY:

If you are on your phone for the most part of the day, this is not going to be easy, and needs to be a gradual process. You need your phone and laptop for work, but you can choose to not look at your phone when you first wake up every morning. You can choose to have a tech-free hour every night before bed. Look at your schedule and current lifestyle, and try to make real, sustainable changes to help you limit unnecessary screen time.


2. FIND ALTERNATIVES:

So now that you’ve decided to cut back on binge watching numerous seasons of your favourite show in one night, where do you go from here? Think about healthier alternatives to use your time. Sign up for a class, read, work out, go for a walk, or meet a friend - the options are limitless. You will be surprised to see how much more productive your days have become.


3. BE PRESENT:

When you are with family or friends, put down your phone and enjoy the conversation. When you go for a walk, take in the scenery. When you pick up a book, be all in and forget the distractions. Our attention span is shrinking day by day because of our phones and tablets, and we need to retrain ourselves to be present in the moment we are in.


Cutting back on screentime is a challenging exercise, but has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and has definitely allowed me to experience a more balanced life. I encourage you to try and implement those practices- after all life is meant to be experienced, not watched from behind a screen.




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