Nowadays, who among Millennials can live without their phones? We do everything with them from the moment we wake up in the morning as we use it as an alarm to the moment we go to bed as we set up the alarm for the next day. We cannot let go this little computer that fits into our pockets.
I recently saw a video of a girl in the Hong Kong metro going hysterical because the battery of her phone just "died". I found this very disturbing. How have we become so dependent, so addicted that we tend to avoid real social interactions and start panicking as soon as we cannot use our smartphones?
We are so used to do everything online that we minimize our interactions with others in real life. Who needs to go to the shop to ask advice for a product we think to buy although you can find reviews about the product without moving from your chair or couch from people who already wondered the same question?
That's not really our fault though. We've grown up with technology and have only been taught to use it but not really how to use it. I remember the time I had to connect for the first time to internet using a dial-up 56k modem that used the landline. (Yes I've experienced that!)
A time slot was allocated to your use of internet for several reasons:
* While you was on internet, no one could use the landline
* The cost of internet was expensive
* You used internet for a purpose, find an answer to something, not to browse for hours. We used it as you would look for a book in a library and once you found it, you was out.
Today, we use internet in a different way, it is available permanently, the cost has decreased drastically in occidental countries, hence we are more tempted to spend more time browsing or procrastinating, there is no more time limit.
Internet has become part of our daily life, even at work. It is cost efficient for companies now to use online tools to communicate with their clients and promote their products or services.
And once we finish our "9 to 5", most of us will listen to music on our phones using internet to stream it. How many of us use an mp3 player or an iPod nowadays? Not so many, why would you always carry around the same songs, although you could listen to anything online without using so much of your precious phone memory space.
You might also meet someone who would tell you about a song that they like for example and you want to know immediately what it sounds like. That's why internet is so convenient, you can discover anything, anytime, maybe not anywhere...yet, but some companies like Google and Facebook are working on it. ( project loon or internet.org )
It is called the fear of missing out or FOMO . We want to be the first to know about something that is happening, no matter what, in order to be able to share what we see with others. But by doing so we tend to miss out on the moment of our lives sometimes as we spend more time online than offline. Internet is an amazing invention, but the risk is to use it without a purpose, to only use it as a distraction to "kill time".
Don't get me wrong, I am also a millennial who uses internet on daily basis. I am just trying to become more aware of the use I do of Internet and how to use it without missing out the important moments in my life. It is so easy to get sucked in that sometimes I just enjoy to leave my phone at home and spend a few hours without it, as it helps me to focus on my thoughts and develop my creativity.
I have read an article recently about how Internet was affecting our mental health as always being on the hook changes our social behavior, affects our sleeping time, increases stress etc...
I believe internet can be considered as an addiction, and as all addiction, using it without control can damage our lives. It is said in that study that "Internet use activates the reward system of our brains, inducing a kick of the feel-good chemical dopamine whenever we check a notification or click a new link". It is then up to us to consume it without excess as all type of addictions.