New Castle News

June 29, 2013

Josh Drespling: Put the phone down and step away from the cat, it's time to unplug

Josh Drespling
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Have you ever composed a text, updated to Facebook, or sent a Tweet while sitting on the toilet? Have you found yourself reaching for your smart phone while you’re in a meeting, just for comfort? Have you checked your phone for new messages before you even get out of bed? Have you shared a photo of your dinner or your cat or worse yet, your cat eating dinner?

If the answer is yes to any of these, then you may need to step away from the phone, disconnect, unplug, and decompress. It’s OK. Gradually loosen the grasp you have on the phone. We will start slowly, one finger at a time. Easy does it. Good. Now gently set it on the table and walk away. No, seriously, leave it there, and walk into the other room.

We all get so wrapped up in the daily goings on of social media and staying connected. It’s an easy thing to do. Before you know it, you’re like me. I have an app from every major news outlet, including local organizations, nationals, and even several foreign news and information sites. Seems like there is always some breaking news in some part of the world. Does any of it really affect me? Not really, but I feel better being the first to know.

I also have my Facebook app that is constantly filling my brain with the worthless information that my friends and family deem as newsworthy. I see their posts about lost pets, dinner plans, life events, and the inevitable repost or share about how great such and such sport team is or how awful our government is. I don’t really need that, but I keep coming back like a dirty, old junkie looking for a fix. Once in a while, I get a surprise by some over-the-top video by the likes of The World's Strongest Redneck, where he is planting donut seeds or performing some incredible feat of strength.

Another app that keeps me glued to my phone is Words With Friends. I current have 4 or 5 games going on. I check back every few minutes in hopes that one of my opponents have made a move so I can make mine. It’s a vicious cycle, because once we exchange moves, I'm right back where I started, pacing back and forth, anticipating the moment that I can once again become active, if only for a few brief seconds.

I always have a gadget, phone, laptop, or computer within arm’s reach. I have the constant feed straight to my brain. It keeps my brain active, but is possibly also dulling my scenes.

I need to unplug and walk away. I'm turning off my laptop, setting up a vacation response on my email, and taking the battery out of my phone.My decompression starts now... Oh, wait, I have to send a tweet, email, and instant message so everybody knows I'm not going to be available.