The digital revolution has brought both positive change and negative.
It’s incredible that we can stay in touch with our loved ones all around the world through social. And it’s amazing that I can access virtually all existent human knowledge on any topic within a matter of seconds.
However, the dangers of prolonged sitting, obsessive texting, and misinformation are all new threats that are entirely unique to our generation (some worse than others).
Everyone texts. It’s just a part of life in the 21st Century.
However, some take texting and keeping up with social to a wholly unhealthy level, communicating virtually every minute of every day via their phone and rarely looking up to pay attention to the real world, let alone getting outside for some exercise.
This has all kinds of negative consequences. Just how many? You might be surprised.
We go into restaurants, and people aren’t talking anymore. They’re texting. While they are sitting at a restaurant with each other. So we’re losing this intimacy that we need to have as human beings.
– Goldie Hawn
The dangers of obsessive texting and social use
What kind of things can result from obsessive texting and social media use?
For one, our lack of real human interaction sucks the most important part of our life from us, affecting our well-being. This then also affects our professional life.
In addition to this, living on our phones conditions us to distraction and makes us addicted small hits of dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that can be triggered when we receive a text, social update, email, or anything else similar. In a literal sense, we become addicted to checking our texts and social because it makes us feel good.
But that’s not all. An obsession with texting and social can also affect our emotional health and cognitive ability, as discovered by one study.
That’s not all even (we’ll talk about another danger of too much texting in a bit) but I think by now you get the point: there are several real, tangible dangers to obsessive texting and social use.
The 4 subtle signs that texting is affecting your well-being
Clearly, becoming addicted to digital updates and communication methods such as texting is bad.
However, can you spot if texting is affecting your well-being?
There’s no definitive way to know if texting is affecting your well-being, but there are some obvious ways to spot that it may be a problem:
- You jump at the sound: How do you react when your phone goes off? Do you continue to work on whatever you were doing beforehand and check your phone sometime later or do you jump the second your phone goes off unconsciously?
- It pains you not to look: And how you feel if you don’t look right away? Maybe you jump unconsciously but you can look away just fine (you’re just conditioned). Can you resist checking it or is the impulse so great that it causes you great discomfort, almost unbearable, to not check immediately?
- You’re spending several hours a day texting or communicating on social: Whether it’s texting, Facebook Messenger, or another social platform, it’s all the same: How long are you spending communicating digitally each day in a texting-like fashion? If you’re communicating for several hours a day digitally, each and every day, that’s a sign that texting is having a real effect on your well-being.
- You’re having a hard time thinking deeply or your moral judgment has weakened: Believe it or not, over-reliance on texting and social use has been shown to reduce cognitive ability, especially deep, reflective thought, and affect our moral judgment.
If any of these signs sound like you, you might have a problem. But what can you do about it?
To start, make the commitment to spend at least two hours each day completely unplugged. I’d suggest turning your phone off so that you don’t have to hear the phone go off.
In addition to this, try a blackout day: one day out of the week where you unplug and get outside. Try something new like cycling, hiking, your local farmer’s market or something else. Just get outside (and, preferably, in front of or around other people), whatever you do.