Back in my childhood, there was no mobile phone. As a person who was born in the early ’90s (I’m not old yet), I remember that I spend my free time with physical activity—either playing with friends, playing an instrument, or reading a book.

Now, whenever I have free time, I turn my attention to my phone. Maybe you do, too?

And phone usage has increased during this pandemic. If you are reading this post, then you might be using your phone, laptop, or any screen device. You might be familiar with this view: 

Personally, I’m not really comfortable when seeing a bunch of people looking at their phones. But paradoxically, when I’m the one who looking at my phone, it feels normal.

This got me thinking, at how much extend our physical activity changes from our phone usage? For an example, people walking by looking at their phone (and sometimes stomped by the boulders). That already showing that our basic physical activity changes. Not to mention that it leads us to a sedentary lifestyle.

The next question is, how much our physical relationship with other people change?

Often, I get upset when I talk to someone but they are still glued with their phone. But then, I remember that I also often do that. I use my phone when I’m bored, while waiting in line, or while commuting. I automatically check my phone, too, when I see someone checking their phone. I think that’s contagious! Maybe, when we check our phone, someone is also imitate us.

However, as a person who works from home, now I crave the moment when talking with someone from eye to eye. It’s hard to form a better relationship if we are glued to our screen too much.

Phone addiction is an alarming phenomenon that we need to take care of seriously. The Digital Minimalism book by Cal Newport addresses the issue and suggests that we need to redefine our phone (or any screen device) use in our life.

Minimizing the use of social media is important because it unconsciously steals our time. While, I think time is our most precious wealth. Why? Because it’s not something that you can replace with anything else. You cannot get your time that has passed. While with money, you can get it again from somewhere else.

As Seneca puts it in his essay, On The Shortness of Life:

“We are very careful with the management of our money, but far less so with that of our most precious commodity: time.”

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it […] Life is long if you know how to use it.”

Maybe you’ve heard enough that social media has some negative effects like FOMO, comparison games, and consuming our time.

So, I decided to delete my social media apps from my phone since 2020. And this is what I get:

  • I got a huge free time in my day
  • I became less stressed
  • I end up exercising, reading books a lot, do my house chores, and do my hobbies

That’s awesome, right? But, I think we don’t have to minimize our phone usage to the bare minimum like messaging or call only. So many good things that available online, like this platform (of course!). Also, social media has two sides to a coin. It’s not only bad, but it also has a good effect, too.

After all, spending your time offline doesn’t always mean it’s better than spending your time online. Spending your day offline with gossiping might not be better than spending your day online to learn something new (although, maybe gossiping will help you tighten your relationship with your friend… I’m not gonna judge!).

What I realize after minimizing my social media use, I’m still using my phone a lot. I end up reading online articles and watching videos. It’s not always bad per se, however, I still face difficulty to form a better quality relationship with my friends. What causes this?

After further contemplation, I realize it’s because I still use my phone in front of my friends, partner, or family. Yes, other people might using their phone, too, but doesn’t mean that you have to imitate them. Be the one who looks from eye to eye when you are in a conversation. 

When you are talking with other people, just put any device away. This is really simple but yet hard to do!

Thanks to Shanaya to inspire me with her post about social media, Status Updates, finally I don’t postpone this 😀