Wonders of being tech-free

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Growing up in the 90s, I cannot remember a time when technology has not played a part in my life.

From the early days of sitting by the PlayStation to the current day sitting at my desk typing up stories, I guess it’s just something I’ve always taken for granted, never realising the full extent of the control technology can have over a person.

Last week I had a moment that made me realise the pull of technology was stronger than I had anticipated.

As I prepared to make a mad dash to Melbourne for a breakfast date, I quickly gathered enough things to get me by for a couple of days as well as the ever-important laptop to enable some heavy TV show binging during the weekend.

Thirty minutes out of Shepparton, my car’s fuel light signalled the need for an essential stop at the next fuel station.

Rolling in, I thought this was the perfect time to grab out my phone and quickly make sure everything was in order.

Checking the usual spots, I could not locate my mobile.

I’m fairly notorious for misplacing items so I proceeded to pull out the contents of my bags, shaking clothes and checking pockets.

Still fairly calm, I kept searching but before long it was confirmed this trip would be a mobile-free one.

I never thought of myself as someone with a phone or technology dependency, but I definitely had to revisit this thought when my first post-no-phone realisation was: ‘‘At least I have my laptop’’.

According to figures calculated by AntiSocial, an app developed by Melbourne software company Bugbean, Australian men unlock their phones more than anyone in the world — on average 45 to 46 times a day, and Australian women unlock their phone about 42 times.

It has also been found that young adults can spend as much as roughly one-third of their total waking hours on a mobile device.

It was interesting during the two days that although I definitely thought about my phone and the ease of contacting people, using maps or looking up something on the internet, when I had no choice in the matter it really didn’t bother me.

I honestly enjoyed being a little out of the loop and giving my fingers and eyes a bit of a break.

I also found it beneficial to embrace the freedom and enjoyed thinking about other things, rather than the stimuli from my phone.

I’ve heard wonderful stories recently about people going tech-free in the bedroom or in the morning before work and even tech-free retreats taking place across the country.

Although mine was an accidental detox, it was a real eye-opener and something I’d encourage everyone to try, even if just for an hour or two.

Test yourself and see how much tech dependency may be gripping you.

Ashlea Witoslawski is a News journalist.