I am a big advocate of social media. Many of the best opportunities I have been given have been as a result of connections made online. I have learnt so much from Twitter, blog posts and podcasts. In essence my phone has been my friend and partner in education and life in general.
But recently, like many relationships often do, I have realised that my phone and I need a break from each other. I noticed not only how I am constantly reaching for my little electronic guardian, but also how much I panicked and worried if he wasn’t there. Checking Twitter has become a constant obsession with any space in my day filled by a quick glance. I am always aware of the number of emails in my inbox and notice as soon as the number changes (turning off notifications wasn’t enough to separate me from this it seems). Each day starts not with Radio 2, but with a routine of checking social media outlets and news apps.
My children, three boys aged 10, 8 and 4, all seem screen obsessed in their own ways. I tut and chastise them, but I’ve realised I don’t really set them a good example. They see me sneaking a look at social media and I shudder at the times I’ve told them “hang on a minute, I’m just writing an email”. I often long for them to have a childhood like mine, spending long evenings playing football in the park, yet how often do I disconnect from technology and just enjoy the world around me?
So, I’m going to do something about it. Next week I have a week off work and I am going to go completely “off grid”. I’m going to delete all social media apps from my phone (Candy Crush will have to go too) and use it only for actual phone calls and the occasional text message. I am going away to a hotel on the coast, with magnificent views and lamentable wifi. I’m going to read a book – one that is both a metaphorical and physical “page turner” and go on walks where the only noise comes from nature and not phone alerts.
I’m reminded of a youtube video that I first saw a few years ago and which has now had over 57 million views.
I’m sure I’ll be back to tell you all about it. And I’m sure I’ll be back on social media all to soon. But for one week I’m going to look up and see what is going on in the real world.
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