Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

National Unplugging Day – review

reading_pileSo on the spur of the moment, I dived into National Unplugging Day. I’d only just heard about it an hour before and at 9:50pm I switched off my tech… well everything electrical in my house except for my fridge and alarm clock and crawled into bed with a book… my reading pile is rather large… and seems to consist of ridiculously large books right now!

The next day I was intent on only switching on my computer (and router) to check work e-mails, and to have my phone on for work.

I’m not one of these 24hr Facebook/Txt’ists so I don’t have that issue to contend with… but what I do have is… Second Life.

And this is where I failed.

It is a strange addiction, this compulsion to log in and see who’s online. Some days I can stay switched off, like, there are days when I don’t have a mental battle going on: “stay offline… stay offline”, and other days, I find myself logged in before I can’t consciously object.

Sunday was actually easy because I had the afternoon with family and once I was home I was happy to read a book and then go to bed. But Monday, which should have been a work/book reading day, ended up being a Second Life day mostly… if only I hadn’t needed to switch my computer on to check e-mails for work… it’s all too easy to open another tab or double-click that icon that pleads with me to click it!

If I can stay unplugged from the start of a day then my days can be very productive with other stuff… and I like that.

I have few vices in my life I think, I rarely drink, and never to excess, I don’t smoke, and I eat with a healthy mindfulness etc… but Second Life is one of my vices. Partly it is something about the virtual world itself, and partly it is the friendships/companionships/relationships there… however you are brave enough to label them.

firestorm-logovice

noun

immoral or wicked behaviour

– an immoral or wicked personal characteristic

One way I try to talk myself out of logging in is by appreciating the times offline that I have socialised in one form another, from either visiting family, or even having a nice chat with a client at work. I’ve lived on my own for over a year now and while I do enjoy my own company and having my own world revolve largely around myself I do recognise that I need that social contact with others.

Perhaps vice is too strong a word, but the battle I have within myself when I’m trying to curb my addiction/habit makes it seem like that word fits. Perhaps having this battle going on isn’t so much of a bad thing – surely it means I am conscious of some boundaries I have naturally set for myself, whereas perhaps others who grow up around tech and are constantly plugged in don’t have any such considerations. There is scientific research into these thing and the effects such tech has on us, the last thing I heard was how our attention span has dropped significantly during the past couple of decades. This is concerning – I’ve always felt like I’m relatively strong-willed, but to be aware of how easily I find myself logging in makes me worry about the not so strong-willed.

Links:

Canadians’ attention span worse than the average goldfish…
New research says average attention span is 8 seconds, a 33% drop since 2000. Are mobile devices to blame?
www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2667366228

https://bmhonline.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/national-unplugging-day

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