What came first…the chicken or the egg? This has been an unanswered question floating for generations. Actually, you can get an answer, but it will always be different depending on who you ask. This led me to start thinking about social media. Can social media survive without us?
Or can we not survive without it?
The iPhone was launched in 2007, just 16 short years ago. And within those 16 years, we have launched ourselves deeply into tech so fast that our brains and bodies are having trouble keeping up.
We see this manifest physically through “tech neck,” trigger thumb (from texting too much), upper back pain from bending over our phones so much, eye problems, and so on. We also see the psychological manifestations through the increase in anxiety, depression, body image issues, etc. These symptoms, ranging from annoying to highly distressing, can be alleviated, if not cured, by simply putting our devices down.
For thousands of years, humans have been communicating face-to-face with one another. We were outdoors. We paid attention to our surroundings more. We stopped to smell the roses and dug our toes in the grass.
New research shows us that simply “grounding” or getting outside and walking in the grass for just 15 minutes a day alleviates anxiety and may even counteract the EMFs that we absorb through so much digital use. So if our bodies are built to be without devices, and our bodies give us all of these signals that we need to be without them, and if we FEEL better without them, then why are we having such a hard time putting them down?
So back to the questions.
We know that tech cannot survive without us. Social media is a parasitic relationship. We are the host. It cannot survive without us. But the big question is can we survive without it? At what point does the host need the parasite to live? Our everyday lives are surrounded and governed by devices. We use them for work and socializing. So much of what we buy is through our devices. Our kids’ extra-curricular activities are scheduled through text or apps. If all of this was removed, would we survive?
Currently, I say yes. It would be hard. But we must remember that we still have the generation with us that remembers life before social media. We remember what it was like to work outside, to communicate face to face, and…well…how to be bored. We are okay when left with our own thoughts and ideas. But 50 years from now, WE will all be gone. So it begs the question, will the newer generations be able to live without devices or tech? And if it is so ingrained, so hard-wired for everyone to rely on it to function, where will we be physically? Emotionally?
Will our lives be 100 percent reliant on something our bodies continue to reject?
So what came first? The chicken or the egg? We do not know the answer to that question. But we will discover the answer to the tech question sooner than we realize. I believe that if we do not put things in place now to help support our biological systems, generations to come will struggle daily in this space. We still have the ability to say no to constant device time. We can teach younger generations the importance of face-to-face connection, getting outside, and getting their toes in the grass. Teaching them this will protect them for generations to come.
Kristi Bush serves as a national education consultant and social media safety advocate. She is a licensed social worker with greater than 15 years of clinical practice and health care experience. She attended Troy and Auburn University where she studied social work and counseling. Kristi travels nationally and has spoken with thousands of children, parents, professionals and organizations about the benefits and threats associated with social media. You may reach Kristi through her website at www.knbcommunications.com.