My friends know that I am likely to be the last person to respond to a Snapchat message. This is because I don’t have notifications on my Snapchat, and I don’t check it every day. I simply get more stressed out from having notifications on Snapchat than I find it amusing to see all the snaps the minute I receive them. It’s not that I don’t like Snapchat, I just see it more as an entertaining device when I don’t have anything else to do rather than a communication device for normal conversations. I almost always leave my phone at home when Simay and I are going sightseeing in Istanbul, simply because I’m not using my phone when I’m in Turkey. The sense of freedom I get when I don’t have my phone on me is something you don’t get that easy in today’s daily life. The multiple benefits of going so called offline have been documented; everything from better sleep (as you don’t stay up to scroll through your phone), higher quality relationships, to stop procrastinating.
One of my professors at ESSEC told us to give ourselves a break from technology for 3 hours during his classes. He asked us to put our phones in our bags and only use the computer if we were taking notes, nothing else. In my opinion this is something that shouldn’t have to be said, but it is. Students stay on their phones and scroll through different sites on their computers all the time during class, and I get that if you have mandatory class attendance but you don’t really care about the class it can be easy to do that, or if you have something urgent that has to be fixed. But it can’t be the case that everyone hates the class, can it? If you are there to learn what the professor is talking about, then paying attention and not doing other things should be the natural choice, in my opinion. Studies have shown that taking notes the traditional way, with pen and paper, makes you remember more of the things that were said. So why would you spend 3 hours in a classroom if you’re not going to remember as much as possible from that class. Whatever you did on your computer will still be there when the class is over, but the professor won’t repeat what he or she said. That is unless your university records all the classes, but then again, why would you go through the same class over again just because you didn’t pay attention the first time? If you paid attention, but still need to go through the class again at least you know where the professor was mentioning what you are looking for, thus you dont have to go through the whole 3 hours.
Another huge benefit of not being online 24/7 is the quality of the human interaction and relationship you create with others. I remember one time I was having lunch with my mom in a park here in Paris, and there was a school class that were having a long break as well. They had one phone to control the music that they were playing on a speaker, other than that none of the kids had their phones up. These kids were probably something between 14-16 years old, and to see kids their age not being online but actually talking to each other and creating memories together rather than taking pictures and videos of how much fun they were having really stuck in my memory. Because I know that the chances of me seeing that back in Norway are quite slim. I personally think that they would appreciate that memory more as they probably have stories to tell about what happened or what they were talking about, rather than having a picture of every minute they spent in the park. Of course, take a picture or two to keep in the scrapbook but other than that taking the time to talk to each other will be better in my opinion.
I am not saying that I wished everyone would go offline, I love the fact that I can talk to all of my friends and family back home just by touching a screen 2-3 times, but I do hope that as time goes on we’ll take a small step back and say: Technology is awesome, but I also want to talk to real people, create real relationships (Not just Facebook and Instagram relationships), pay the professor the respect he or she deserves, and keep my phone in my pocket sometimes not always in my hand.