I have started turning off the mobile data on my phone. Believe me, the sky does not fall by doing this.
It is common to hear these days that children are addicted to cell phones. It is not only children but we adults, too, are addicted to our phones. We get a panic attack if we find our phone missing. Phones have become parts of our bodies as well as minds, because they take care of things for which we had to physically move or rely upon our mental acumen in earlier times. Memory, for example. We write all important numbers, dates, appointments on our phones. We even store passwords and important information in the form of screenshots in our mobile phones. In short, it has become a necessary and unavoidable part of our daily lives.
The cell phone has numerous advantages and it is difficult to think of a life without one. In metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai, it is difficult to commute, pay bills, eat or even find an address without a mobile phone. Well, I do not need to go into its utilities when you are already aware of how useful it is. However, there are instances where you can see people using mobile phones for no good reason. You may often find yourself scrolling videos on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or reading or watching the forwarded message on WhatsApp. Some of the stuff is interesting but most of it wastes your time and occupies your mind to the detriment of better thoughts.
Due to excessive scrolling people are found complaining about headaches, migraines, dryness in skin, dryness in eyes, sleeplessness, insomnia and, in worst case scenarios, depression. Social media was created to unite us with people across the globe, but it somehow has helped in disconnecting people. How often have you seen a group of friends laughing and enjoying a meal in a restaurant or at a cafeteria in the workplace, school or college? Just look around, look at what has happened to us. We are neck-deep in our phones, we collide with each other because we are walking in different dimensions existing in our mobile phones and reality is completely ignored. Even in families while having supper you will find members of the family absorbed in mobile phones, having no or low regard to what they are eating. You can add lots more things which I have not mentioned, like how babies have to watch that video while they are being fed. How toddlers stick to phones and allow us to iron our clothes. We are in a way promoting it to even a newborn, by first clicking pictures and sometimes flashlights still on, damaging the eyes of the baby. Then by showing him or her screens displaying the father on video call. Certain things cannot be avoided, but most things can be done away with, to decrease screen time.
Applications like metaverse have opened a completely new dimension. The time is not far when you will have to enter into a coffin-like box to wake up in the metaverse and perform your daily tasks, which means you will no longer be carrying your mobile phone but you will be inside your phone and doing all those things and more which you otherwise used to do. Reality will lose its relevance because even if you would want to come out of that dimension, and open that coffin-like box, you will see people around you sleeping in those boxes because they are somewhere else in some other dimension and then you will find yourself roaming around those boxes and you will not have access to any of them, just like you do not have access to mobile phone of another person. There will be layers of security covers protecting them. Finding yourself completely ridiculous, you will look for your coffin box and sleep to meet people inside in another dimension.
We are still some distance behind from the multiverse. I have found a solution to the problem beforehand. One of the methods works quite fine for me. I have started turning off the mobile data while reaching the office. By turning off data, all the notifications are automatically turned off. Your cell phone goes into reduced functionality mode wherein it will still have that classic forgotten incoming and outgoing calling feature. It will also have one redundant application called messaging which you can use to send messages. These things seem to have worked fine for me. Earlier I would turn off notifications but I would still go ahead and open Instagram or WhatsApp out of curiosity. Turning data off has reduced my screen time from seven-and-a-half hours to three hours on average, meaning I am saving both my eyesight, my time and my mental peace. I have set slots when I turn on data, such as at 1pm after having lunch for 10 to 15 minutes and then after 4pm for 10 to 15 minutes and then for another hour or two when I am not doing any important stuff in the evening.
Believe me, the sky does not fall by doing this. If you are equally annoyed by drastic screen time, try this. You do not need to be as drastic as I have gone. You can do it for 1 hour to begin with and then start improvising over it. People who want to get in touch with you in emergency scenarios would go ahead and call you instead of resorting to a message and waiting for you to respond. So chill and give yourself a treat of time and mental peace.
The writer is an advocate at High Court of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. [email protected]