What´s the first thing you do in the morning? The last thing you do at night? If the answer is “check my phone”, don´t feel bad – we all do it. As a matter of fact, recent research show that the average user check their phone more than 1 500 times a week. That’s 6 750 times a month, 78 000 times a year. And no wonder. At any given moment someone might be trying to contact you by e-mail, Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsap, Twitter, Tinder, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, Messenger, Linkedin, Google+ or any of the other thousands of social networks out there. Sure, nine times out of ten it´s someone sending you a screen dump of a squirrel stuck in a roll of toilet paper, but you never know when it´s going to be something even more amazing.
So, what happens to the human psyche when you´re constantly connected, always within reach? What happens when you bring your work home, your private life to work, and the world with you when you go to the toilet? Well, the long-term consequences are not clear. What we do know is this: More and more young people are showing signs of stress-related problems, and it´s especially young women in the ages 16-25 that are struggling. In men, the crash is more common around age 25-35. Hugo Westerlund is director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University.
- You´re expected to be ambitious at work, have time for you´re partner, quality alone time, have interesting hobbies, keep in shape. And don’t forget the obligatory designer-kitchen, homemade sour bread, amazing vacation and so on. There´s not enough hours in a day, it´s no wonder people are getting burnt out trying to live up to all these expectations, said Hugo Westerlund in an article in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Add to all this the expectations of showing off your amazing, happy and creative life in social media – all with our digital bracelets keeping tabs on our
every move – and you have recipe for disaster. Our digitally connected lifestyles may actually be killing us. But lies the cure in the disease? Some think so.
The market for ”Digital Detox-apps” is positively blooming. Some, like the Rescue Time-app, simply tracks your activity on your computer and mobile device and gives you a detailed report of how you use your time. Others, like Moment, let’s you set daily limits for yourself. Every time you go over, a friendly but firm message encourages you to “put down the phone and get back to your life”. For the hard-core addicts, there´s the heavy artillery. The app Anti-Social will sever the cord, and permanently cut you off from Facebook, Pinterest or any other site or social media that may distract you from getting to the important stuff. This is for the truly desperate, as the app is irreversible and definite.
But maybe there´s a better way? An easier way to improve your quality of life, take a break from invasive updates about funny pets, unachievable lifestyles and gym-crazed health fanatics? Maybe you just have to find YOUR special spot in the world where you turn off your phone, bag your laptop and live in the now? To me, it’s a small and rustic (as in beat up) cabin at the seaside of northern Sweden. It lacks a descent shower facility, leaves much to ask for when it comes to stylish settings and walk-in-wardrobe demands, and most importantly: The phone-reception sucks. It´s my safe haven, it´s where I sever the broadband-core. And it actually works! So if the stress of everyday digital life is getting to you – find your safe haven.
But before you go downloading any blocking-apps, book a trip to a deserted island or make a ceremonial bonfire of your technical devises – T-post have created a quick an easy-to-use test you can take to see just how far gone your digital addiction is.
You may have a problem with digital- and social media-addiction if:
1. You feel a compulsive need to scream “LIKE!” every time a cute puppy walks by on the sidewalk.
2. You spend more time at the gym trying to find the right lighting for a selfie than actually working out
3. Your absolute peak in life was “that time Sarah Silvermann retweeted my snappy comment on Jonah Hills extensive weight-loss”
4. Your only IRL interaction is with the sales staff at your closest Apple store.
5. Your Idea of a great date is sending dick-pics over snapchat without it ending up with a lawsuit
6. You´ve ever googled “please someone – save me from my destructive smartphone-addiction”
If the answer to every one of these questions is YES, you might want to consider som professional help. Otherwise, you´re probably pretty normal. So take our advice, and find yourself a safe spot and turn off your goddamn phone. It´s easy, just google it.
Words: Jonas Pekkari
Design: Peter Lundgren
Model: Anton Gunnarsson
[1,82 cm tall, wearing mens L]