First appeared in Anglican Cyber Tuesdays 25/02/2020.
To be in the present, to be mindful and to be connected doesn’t mean turn on all your social media notifications. We all hear the pundits talking about issues with social media and smart devices. The eSafety Commissioner has reported that young people have 5 different social media services. Understand social media uses notifications to get you back online with every post, every emoji and message or update. Reachout Australia outlines the positives of being connected but recognises there are negatives such as being disconnected from the real world and spending too much time online. The eSafety Commissioner has even started to change the way we build devices with an amazing project to introduce safety by design project in 2019.
But what can we do now while the community adjusts? Dr Judson Brewer, from Brown University’s Mindfulness Centre, said in a recent article there is a lot more to it that just putting down your smart phone. You need to prioritise what is happening around you and re-evaluate your reward value process.
How can you do this? Well it means the first step is to always remember you are not alone and this is challenging. You can leverage the expert help around you like to your school psychologist or counsellor.
Being present means you have awareness of what is happening around you. This means don’t take out that phone, don’t put it on the table upside down and leave the tablet in another room. Especially do not touch your phone while someone is talking to you. The eSafety Commissioner quick takes are:
- Turn off your social media notifications.
- Use your phones internal screen time manager and do not disturb function.
- Use the phone built in features and exam how you are using your time. Remember looking at your phone for 5 hours a day adds up to about 74 days a year – time you can’t get back.
- Unfollow accounts which make you feel bad.
- Have a phone and social media free day.
- Social media is not real life.
- Talk to someone in real life and check out these service.
To be mindful, according to Beyond Blue, look at what’s happening around you and tune in with your attention and attitude. This takes practise and is not easy. You may have the sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) from not looking at your phone or social media, however you not will miss out on the present. You can catch up later and remember posts are often staged and misleading.
Being connected and mindful (real life) has additional benefits according to Beyond Blue:
- reduces your stress, reduces negative thinking on upsetting things;
- Improves your focus and working memory; and
- Improves and more flexible problem-solving abilities.
Over time when people see you prioritising them over devices or social media you will be more connected with the people and community around you.