You see it on TV and in newspapers frequently, if the topic of discussion is anything even remotely related to technology. You see a group of people peering into their smartphones, and checking their social media feed. You can easily say that the media likes to blow things out of proportion, but this is one area where there is some truth in what they show. Quite a bit of truth, I would say. I’m guilty of checking my phone for notifications when I wake up, so I’m one of those people who can’t keep away from his device for very long.
The thing is, I didn’t realize the scale of this phenomenon. Yesterday, I went out with one of my friends and we were meeting for a long time.
So I thought we would go to some nearby restaurant for dinner, and he agreed. After some discussion, we decided to meet around 8:30 pm. I offered to pick him up from his home, and he agreed again.
According to plan, everything was done-I picked him up, we went to the restaurant that we decided upon, and the orders were placed. I found him busy with his phone using WhatsApp, but he was actively participating in the conversation with me. There was only one thing running in my mind “who has got so much time to text back, continuously!”
In no time the food was served, and he kept his phone aside, but his phone kept on telling him that he had new notifications. He was continuously checking and replying to his notifications. Now he was talking to me, eating his food, and checking his notifications simultaneously.
Ironically, at this point, he stopped and said that he hated it when someone texts him while he is eating his food. But to my surprise, his fingers were constantly running over the keypad replying to texts even while having his meals.
I told him it was a new reflex that he had created in his brain and life was incomplete without it. I asked him if he did the same when he was sleeping. He smiled at me and said he does.
This small incident motivated me to write this article and say how a smartphone has made a new reflex in our body. When we were young, we learned that we have some reflex actions in our body that we adapt automatically, like blinking our eye when something comes near our eye or removing our hand when we touch something hot or pointed. Similarly, these smartphones are a part of a reflex. For example, we are deep asleep, and then suddenly our phone beeps, our hand automatically reaches out for the phone without opening its eyes.
The most interesting part is we even reply keeping an eye open, this means that our brain says buddy you need to sleep, but the reflex tells us to text and hence one eye remains closed. We might say that we don’t use our phones while eating our food or when we’re busy with our friends. But let me ask one question-what is the first thing we do after we get up in the morning? I know everybody heads towards the washbasin, but what do we do before we leave the bed?
Smartphones have changed the way we live.
Have you ever thought about what happens when we go out and realize we left our phone at home? Some may run back to get it and others feel lost, as these phones have become a part of us. It is no wonder then that there are many vacation retreats ۔we can go to where they have a no phone or no communications device allowed policy. We are completely off the grid. Some of my friends who have been to such retreats said they felt relaxed۔ and experienced being close to nature for a very long time.
The last point which I want to share is that as we have learned about reflex action۔ we have learned a new thing, which is to act immediately when our phone is in danger. We save our phones first without even caring about ourselves. People nowadays take insurance policies for their expensive phones. I asked you a question previously “what is the first thing you do when you wake up?” What I do is, I turn off the alarm on my phone۔ and the fact is alarm clocks have been replaced by phones.