I came across this fantastic article (via @garydstratton through #phdchat) about a professor in the US who challenged his students, in exchange for extra credit, to give up their smartphones for 5 days. Their reactions are fascinating:
I am only 29 so whilst not born into the internet generation it has been with me since my late teens. I am not as connected as some of my peers – I have a basic phone which I can’t email/social network from and I have only recently joined twitter. I don’t listen to music when I am out an about because I like interacting with and learning from the world around me (I am a social sciences PhD student after all!). I like to think that I am in control of my connectivity…
But, reading about this experiment has encouraged me to reflect on this assumption. I get into work in the morning and the first thing I do is check work email, yahoo mail, university email, facebook and twitter. I have them open all day in case anything “happens”. I get home from work after travelling for 1 ½ hours and the first thing I do is switch on my laptop to check my email, facebook and twitter. On top of this I keep thinking about getting an iphone so that I can do all of these things on the move.
Why? Am I afraid of missing something? I am so keen to get home to my partner in the evening so why do I greet him and then look straight toward my connection with the world outside home? I know that I enjoy life more when I am not connected to the internet…it’s not like I don’t have plenty to do!
So, I am going to take back control of my connectivity. I’m not sure I want to/can go cold turkey from everything but facebook can go for a start and my twitter usage (which I find useful for my research) shall be 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at lunch and no more. As for email…I might need a bit more time with that one!