Getting back in the driver’s seat of your mobile device (Pt. 2 of 2)
Originally published on January 3, 2019
In part 1 you learned how to set up an away message for your cell phone, a handy way to reclaim some of your attention. As promised, this follow-up will offer more mindful methods of maintaining a healthy relationship with your mobile device.
Fear not; I’ll be picking up right where I left off with the driving metaphors, featuring shots from some of my favorite “get-aways”. For starters, I’ll point out some of the hazards (and related repairs) you’re sure to encounter on the road to digital wellness.
No Road Rules 🛑
Like a street with no speed limits or stoplights, our phones and their applications bombard us with notifications by default. Good luck writing that email with GroupMe alerts rolling across your screen.
Police Yourself 👮🏽♀️
Without anyone holding tech creators responsible, you’re the only enforcement around. It’s up to you to recognize offenders and direct traffic by silencing the notifications that get in the way.
Obstructed Vision 🙈
Like driving with fogged up windows, it can be difficult to see where you’re going. If you’ve ever grabbed your phone for a quick Google search and ended up on the dark side of YouTube, you know what I mean.
Clear Your View 👀
Change your perspective by going grayscale or rearranging your home screen. Move your problem apps to another screen or replace them with something more productive and see how often you reflexively check their old parking spot.
Low on Gas ⛽️
Like driving on fumes, we scroll mindlessly even though we know it’s far from fulfilling. The more time you spend refreshing that Insta feed, the closer you’ll get to empty.
Pull Over 🧘🏽♂️
Don’t be afraid to take a break and maybe a couple deep breaths next time you catch yourself in a “scroll hole”. Park that puppy and go for a stroll instead of running yourself all the way down to E.
Faulty Brakes 🏎
Unless you can afford an upgrade, your best bet is to just slow things down. This can be hard when you have 20 Snapchat stories left to watch, but you have to learn to pump the brakes on FOMO and enjoy a little silence every once in a while.
Get a Bumper Sticker 📴
Slap on a “Student Driver” sticker and let people know that you’re making an effort to use technology more responsibly. Whether it’s an away message or a challenge between you and a friend, social accountability can be a powerful thing.
Perhaps the simplest analogy of all lies in the rearview:
- The first gas-powered automobile was built in 1885; almost 75 years later, seatbelts became a standard safety feature.
- The first iPhone was released in 2007; in the surprisingly short time since, we’ve seen the rise of applications and social media as smartphones continue to connect humanity, for better or worse.
Thanks to the very innovation that has given rise to these powerful devices, we are able to learn more than ever before about their effects on our physical and mental wellbeing.
So while we anticipate the results of the social experiment that is our digital age, it is important to acknowledge that our wellbeing isn’t something that can be gambled on or trusted to the hands that currently shape our tech landscape.
Every step we take towards becoming our own “get-away” drivers gets us one step closer to establishing a healthier model for the technology of the future. If we can’t keep heading down the road we’re on…
… maybe it’s time we take the road less traveled.