The sound of a phone can make someone stop what they are doing in less than one second. Although technology connects us to each other, society is becoming more and more disconnected to the real world, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Advances in technology make life seem more manageable but it’s making it harder for us to connect with an essential aspect of life: the real world.
While it may seem harmless, the most significant disruption to our lives is around our wrists. Smartwatches took the world by storm in 2014 when Apple released another revolutionary product: the Apple Watch. As more smartwatches enter the market, maybe it is time to realize the real impact they’re having on our lives.
VALLEY spoke with Madison Hungerford, a freshman who is studying Engineering. Madison is an avid Apple Watch-wearer, as she leads a busy lifestyle that often requires her to be away from her phone. She said that the reason why she wears her watch is that she wants to be able to check the time and see her messages while she is away from her phone.
“I also use it to check the moon phases,” Madison playfully added.
Smartwatches can be beneficial in situations like Madison’s. Still, they have a stronger attachment to us than the regular cell phone or computer. They are continually touching skin, and that means you are quite literally attached to technology constantly.
Madison says she always checks her watch whenever it buzzes. This urge to always check a buzz is harmful to daily productivity. By wearing a smartwatch, we allow ourselves the possibility to disconnect from real life due to a single buzz.
Another reason Madison, similar to most watch wearers, likes her Apple Watch is the fact that it allows her to be away from her phone but still read texts and alerts. Again, this is an excellent advantage for the busy lifestyle of a college student. However, this advantage isn’t helping us disconnect from technology.
There are many ways to disconnect from technology quickly; however, with the smartwatches, it is making it harder to leave your digital life behind for an hour or two.
In the article, ‘8 Ways to Disconnect from Technology and Get More Done,’ by the Huffington Post, the writer details ways that you can clear your mind from devices for a good cleanse.
One of the ideas was to make yourself digitally incompatible. The Huffington Post suggests that you can disconnect physically from a device by doing activities that make it challenging to do with a phone. They urge people to hike, meditate, or do yoga. These activities can help clear your head and help you stay away from technology for a tiny bit.
Hiking, yoga and meditating are all great ways to get away from technology, but now smartwatches have found their ways into these mind-clearing activities. For example, people wear smartwatches on their hikes to track the distance. While that is great, it also means that on your hike, which is supposed to remove you from the digital world, you are still connected to technology.
You may be asking yourself, “Well, I wear an Apple Watch so that I am not always on my phone — what should I do instead?” To that, VALLEY has a few suggestions on how to disconnect for a few moments throughout your day.
Do paper homework with no technology around
If you have to read something for a class or fill out a worksheet, close your computer screen and put your phone on Do Not Disturb. While it may not seem like much, it will allow you to finish that assignment in half the time with no distractions. All while you are disconnected from technology without realizing it.
Go to a workout class without a phone or smartwatch
VALLEY isn’t suggesting that you go to the class without your phone because you may need it on the way there or back. Instead, while you’re in the yoga studio or cycling studio, leave your phone in your locker. Better yet, leave your smartwatch in there too. Yes, a lot of people use smartwatches to track exercise. If that is you, turn your watch on Do Not Disturb, so that you are only using the watch for fitness purposes.
Take your notes on paper
This is a controversial topic since the creation of laptops, and the iPad makes note taking a breeze and easily accessible. However, there are many benefits to taking notes the old-fashioned way.
According to studies shown in the article “For Note Taking, Low-Tech is Often Best,” written by Susan Dynarski for Harvard, taking notes by hand on paper lead to better results on tests and in school. Additionally, you are more likely to remember the information, as you are not distracted by the various activities you can do on an iPad or computer.
While smartwatches have proved to help busy and active people easily go throughout their day, maybe we should realize the negative effects that being in physical contact with technology all day long could have on our ability to disconnect. Let’s reconsider putting our conversation on pause when we feel a little buzz from a text.