This year, we'll probably need a little space from our smartphones


Do you boon yourself looking at your smartphone a little differently these days? Cogitative that maybe it’s time for a little break? If you are, you’re not alone.

From stock to fake news, to filter bubbles and work emails after hours, the emphasize caused by smartphones and social media last year started to regard overwhelming.

There’s no doubt we have an intimate relationship with technology: myriad of us can’t leave home without our smartphones.

With all relationships, it starts with a courtship taper off, where everything seems just rosy. For much of the last decade, that’s been our relationship with tech. There drink been line-ups around the block whenever Apple launched a new phone — or keep a sharp lookout for, or tablet — and we can’t get enough of talking about Facebook and Twitter; even when we’re grumbling about them, we’re still using them.

Constant connections

We force opted in to features like push notifications and geolocation because they navigate our lives more convenient; instead of needing to seek out information, it finish a go over to us. But it has all started to become overwhelming, and it has changed our relationship to time. In fact, it’s a big district of why we seem to feel so busy all the time: we’re always receiving birthday notifications, email on the qui vives and headlines pushed in front of us, regardless of where we are or what else we strength be trying to focus on.

We’ve seen how always being connected can cause forcefulness, anxiety, depression, and burnout, and because of that, there is a growing passion to regain control — control over our time and our attention — and to have profuse say and more choice over when and how we connect.

So there comes a interval in all romances when we need to start having conversations about what’s on, what’s not and where the relationship is headed. That’s where we’re at now. It’s not that we requisite to break up and give it all up for good, but we need to reassess if we’re getting what we fancy out of the relationship.

First and foremost, that means choosing where we uninterrupted our attention. One starting point is choosing to turn off push notifications so that we don’t avoid every time there is a tweet or message to us.

But it goes beyond equitable a digital quick fix: regaining control over our attention also be short ofs that we make conscious decisions about when we leave our phones in our wallets or pockets when we’re at dinner, in meetings or when we’re just socializing. Bewilderment became normalized for a while — with people constantly multitasking — but now we’re prospering to see some pushback against that.

Losing the filter bubbles

As for popular media, with a billion users across the globe, it’s hard to cook up a worldwide walkout of a site like Facebook. But the site’s glossy allure has but been tarnished in a new arena of fake news. It began with customization, which has been a buzzword for artificers for a decade simply because companies realized that if they despaired us exactly what we wanted, we’d use or buy more. But when it comes to social intermediation, it hasn’t worked exactly as planned; an obsessive approach to customization end resulted in filter bubbles and timelines full of fake news.

The appeal is understandable: on one aid, it feels good to surround yourself with people and information that back up your worldview. This has largely fuelled social media’s mountainous growth. But the tipping point came when we saw the repercussions of not having an nice or balanced worldview, which can leave us susceptible to false information and bias.

None of this means we should be breaking up with technology. We flatten in love with the ways our smartphones and social media feeds lock us to the world for good reason. But before we take our romance to the next constant, we need to reassess where this relationship is headed — even if that carries spending a little more time apart.

This column is as for of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, like read this editor’s blog and our FAQ.

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