A new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found about 90 per cent of people aged 18-29 were using social media, up from just 12 per cent in 2005. That means that we have a had a culture shift during that time in the way a majority of the population relates to other humans. This is the culture of the Millennials. But people are designed the same way no matter what era in which they are born. How could we not think that this kind of shift would have a psychological effect? It’s one thing to send a thumbs up icon and a total other to say, ”Can I take you to lunch to celebrate your raise?”
Humans are wired for this direct connection. We can try to deny it, but the fact remains. Not having the amount of necessary human contact leaves us feeling anxious, depressed and disconnected. And, indeed, we are putting ourselves into a type of solitary confinement. Maybe the emptiness that this creates is exactly the reason why people are continually checking. Are we trying to get a legitimate, emotional need met from an empty well? Are we not continuing to do the same thing over and over expecting different results this time? In order to answer that last question accurately, we have to know what connecting is like on the other side, i.e., what does it feel like to primarily connect “the old-fashioned way”? What would it be to have phone time nightly with friends and then have group activities and individual outings as our primary means of relating? This becomes a situation in which you will never know until you try.
So, how about we decide to go on a fast from letting the electronic world control us. I bet if you start using the phone for talking most of the time, people will think there is something is wrong with you and ask “Are you ok?” If you decide to take this challenge, set a time limit for it and then go back to the phone as it is being used now for a period of time. Journal your feelings and thoughts and track what changes you go through. Force yourself also to connect with people on a personal, social basis face to face during the fast from the phone time. I would like to know how this experiment foes for you. Feel free to email me with the things you experience, and I will answer you. My email for this challenge is firstname.lastname@example.org.