What Happens When You Disconnect from the Internet
By Elizabeth Barrera
Are you addicted to all things social media?
Alright, let’s get one thing settled first, addiction is a pretty dense word and its definition can vary when being used loosely and depend on each person’s opinion. However, there is a definition that psychologists need to go by when, for example, diagnosing someone with addiction. I, by no means, have the credentials required to diagnose anybody, but I can be a pretty good critic when it comes to identifying our obsession with things like, oh I don’t know, our internet and cell phone use.
I have a few questions to ask before I make my unprofessional diagnose:
Do you have to take your cell phone with you everywhere you go, even if it’s just to the bathroom or to quickly grab something out of your car?
Do you feel bothered if/when you forget your cell phone at home?
Do you feel bothered if/when your cell phone doesn’t have internet service?
Are you extensively/obsessively using apps for finance, dating, education, health, etc.?
Do you view cell [smart] phones as a necessity?
Are you checking/using your cell phone’s internet every 10-20 minutes for leisure?
If you answered yes to any of those questions really, then I’m going to say that yes, you are addicted to your cell phone. Essentially, if you can’t put your phone away for more than an hour (while you’re awake), engage in social conversation without cell phone usage, are using it out of boredom, or getting withdrawals when you’re without it, then it’s probably smart to say that you depend on your phone too much.
But I’ve got good news! It’s completely fixable and the end results are pretty great. Here’s what you’ll gain if you 1) acknowledge you have a problem, and 2) make the necessary arrangements to fix that problem: freedom, peace, and happiness.
When we take a few hours of our free time to disconnect from the world and break up with our cell phones, we make the wise decision to open ourselves to unfamiliar territory that can bring us more positivity than we may think. We grant ourselves the freedom to do a limitless amount of things that we hadn’t perhaps thought about doing before.
Rather than wasting your afternoon on Tinder, let yourself be bored and explore your creativity instead. You don’t need to be lurking on your ex-boyfriend’s side chick’s second cousin’s Instagram page anyway. Nor do you need to be snapping your face with the doggy filter for the fifth time in a row as you mouth God’s Plan. The world doesn’t need to know what you’re doing at every second of your life, nor do you need to know what the world is doing at any given moment.
Your life’s purpose was to do just that: live.
But in real time.
When you’re forced to engage in real-life hobbies and be social with the real world, stronger connections are created and we’re able to get to know people and understand them on a deeper level. How? Because rather than reading a paragraph of ramble and assuming an immediate negative tone on their text, we’re instead able to read their actual body language, facial expression, and tone of voice when speaking.
Practice disconnecting from your phone and the internet for a few minutes or hours of your life, and find something more productive to do instead. Enjoy your own company, be bored, read a book - anything really, just give it a shot. Once you do, you’ll find yourself filled with more freedom to do whatever you want without feeling like you’re missing out, which will then bring you peace and happiness.
The only thing you need to do is disconnect. What do you say, are you up for the challenge?