How “Digital Heroin” Is Ruining Our Lives

Image by William Iven from Pixabay

It’s the first thing we check in the morning, and it’s the last thing we check at night. We take it to the toilet with us convinced it helps with the bowel movements. It fills the void when we are standing in a long queue at the post office or in the Doctors waiting room. 

The phone has become such a problem, we are crossing the road with our heads buried in it, unable to sit and watch the sunset without involving the entire community through social media. 

I’m a photographer, and in recent years have found it difficult to do street photography. Years ago, when phones didn’t exist, you could get yourself some excellent candid portraits of people waiting for the bus. Lovers would be snuggling and laughing together and what a moment that would be to capture. 

Nowadays, finding a good picture of anyone is proving difficult. Why? Because the person waiting for a bus fills the void by staring into his/her phone. The two lovers are isolated from one another as both of them indulge in this digital world of communication. There’s no laughter and no joy among them. Is that something anyone wants to look at let alone some photographer? I don’t think so. 

I took my children the other night to Karate class and all the parents, instead of enjoying their sons take part, were lost in their phones. In the dimly lit hall, one could only see what seemed like Zombies neither interacting with each other or their children. 

The blue tint of the screen lit up their faces, transforming them from human beings to digital zombies who were getting their “fix”. I do believe the appropriate name for this addiction is “Digital Heroin”. Studies have shown that people who break away from their phone get anxiety, increased depression and suffer severe symptoms associated with going cold turkey on drugs. 

What fuels this desire of ours to engage in the digital world? Some propose it’s the ego that gives rise to this obsession. The impulse seems to have its root in our wanting constant affirmation of the “crowd.” 

We often say, “what does this person think about the post of the funny clip of a cat walking like a human? How many people liked it and have shared it?” All this stupid stuff preoccupies and takes up our entire world, a beautiful world that used to exist before we allowed smartphones to take over our lives. People are putting facebook status’s up like, “I dropped my phone into the toilet while taking a piss”. 

I just can’t believe someone would want to share that information with the world, but worse, they would even take a phone to the TOILET. I can understand someone sitting with it as one would with your favourite comic while taking a number 2, but to actually stand there staring into the phone while aiming your pride and joy into the toilet bowl? Oh, come on!!!

I’m guilty of over indulging in communication also. I find myself in so many debates with strangers online that I literally make it more difficult for myself to break away from it. “I wonder what they had to say to that, I can’t let this person score points against me, the fate of humanity depends upon me winning.” 

We must find a solution to this craze. For smoking, I used a nicotine patch or vaping and gradually became a non-smoker. However, is there a patch for digital heroin? No! But we can literally just close the app, walk away and go it cold turkey. Another solution is to just have a family member or friend get tough with us and throw our phone out the window and force us to come back to the real world. 

We all need to do something because I can’t imagine a world where every family member at a restaurant won’t engage with one another. There they are, on their phones, totally isolated and having no conversation. Instead, they’re actually giggling, laughing and showing each other a conversation someone else is having halfway around the world. 

No…I can’t do this…I need a way out…It’s time to dig up my old Nokia 3210 and get rid of this leech that is sucking the very life and soul out of me. 

Have you any tips to share? HELP US ADDICTS TO GET A LIFE!!! 

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