Unplugged or Conditioned to Pavlov’s Bell?

The term ‘unplugged’ has taken on a whole new meaning in this day and age, but what does it really mean?  Most people, nowadays, interpret it as a ‘proverbial break’ from the wiles of technology that seem to beckon more and more of our time, personal and otherwise.  But, can it really be done?  We all know that we should spend less time ‘plugged in’, especially children, and there is loads of new research reinforcing that notion, citing the not-so-great physical, social and emotional effects.  The question is, can one in the western world really be tuned OUT from their phones, internet, cable, etc.?  And, if so, for how long exactly?  Mere minutes, hours, days?  Or maybe for some, quelling the need to answer Pavlov’s bell (in a matter of speaking) every few seconds might actually be considered triumphant.

I will say that prior to owning my first and only iPhone purchased about five years ago (thanks to my husband who was in disbelief that I knew not one iota about texting), I didn’t have much to do with the internet other than that which was necessary for work, the odd emails sent back and forth, and a bit of surfing deemed necessary to research travel information, etc.  I was quite content with my little world, which included the traditional cordless phone (don’t worry, I wasn’t in the rotary stages still, though those phones did make a come back a short while ago;-) and of course, good old cable TV, even though there wasn’t much worth watching then either, hence the creation of Netflix, Crave TV, and Amazon Prime, I guess.  Anyway, my point is that until I got hooked up with my Phone, I’d say very little of my personal time was taken up by techno gadgets.  It just wasn’t important to me.  I was one of “those” people who saw ‘no use‘ for texting when you could simply pick up the phone and talk, if you needed or wanted something (NB, here I am speaking of ‘for real’ talking–not the pseudo kind.).  Fast forward to today.  The window into my existence is vastly different and I am not sure I feel super good about it, but I will reluctantly admit that it has brought about some interesting prospects in life, such as WordPress and creating my own blog:-).

And so, here I sit during one of my typical blogging sessions with my I-Pad in my lap, a Bluetooth keyboard at my fingertips, my I-Phone beside me on our end table along with our cordless home phone, our Smart TV on (mostly as white noise), and a stand-alone PC just a few steps away in our den with a Wi-fi hub beside it.  Indeed, I have become EXACTLY what I said I would not become and it didn’t take long to get here either.  Eeks!  A few sessions of instantaneous messaging with others, at times even simultaneously, and I was hooked!  Just.  Like.  That.  Not proud to say so, but it is true.  I mean, why make a call when you can send a few measly words in a text, while not even having to be grammatically correct (though, I must say that that is one formality I cannot forsake and I’m still getting used to the apparent ‘trail off’, wherein one just decides to ‘disappear’ from the ‘conversation’.).  Suddenly, with the art of texting mastered, all the fuss that people were talking about made sense to me.  Then there were all of the other conveniences that my Phone provided–Outlook, Safari, Facebook, Apps, an instant camera, Photo albums, You-Tube, Maps, Notes, a Calendar, a Calculator, Skype and, and, and!!!, which is precisely where I am going with this…

The other week, my husband and I tuned into a 60-Minutes episode and one of the clips featured tech insiders, (some present, some former) who admitted that the sole purpose of coders is to keep us as engaged as possible because the more time we spend on our devices, the more money that is made off of our screen time.  Just think of all of the advertisements that we are constantly bombarded with and how convenient it is that our likes/hits/searches provide the big wigs with even more ammunition to program with.  It is/was no surprise to hear what the insiders had to say, and yes, media lends its own slant on things, but I will admit that it was more than disturbing to think of how much we are being manipulated and molded, without even realizing so and/or maybe we do, but we are too far gone?!  I’m inclined to think that it is a little bit of both.  So, where do we go from here?  Where is the fine line between convenience and entertainment vs. addiction and far-reaching complications, most of which are yet to be determined?  I don’t know, but it does provide food for thought.  I surely don’t want to be taken for an experimental dog, whose mere existence relies on pings and dings.  Hmm

Until I figure out just how I am going to respond to this issue, you’ll have to excuse me as I Pluck myself out of my rocker recliner to grab a second charger for my Phone since the I-Pad one is already occupied:-).   Oh dear…

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8 responses to “Unplugged or Conditioned to Pavlov’s Bell?”

  1. calmkate says :

    Great post and especially love the key message!
    I have yet to slide right down that slippery slope fully … I am like you near the beginning, blogging was a clear choice but they cut my analogue phone in April. Wont hook my cheapo phone up to net altho others try to push it. And seldom take my phone anywhere with me .. altho I’m forced to for my voluntary work?? Gladly take time off the net and not into social media or pay TV … and my pet ‘hate’ [a strong word I seldom use] is others fiddling on their phone when they are with me .. hello I AM here in real time how about Talking to me? Oh, and you forgot to mention ALL that data is being kept and analysed, YOU are being watched 24/7 and as we all know eventually that will be sold or ‘hacked’ and used for wrong reasons … ignorance or oblivion ..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue says :

      I am at my worst when blogging, but it is a conscious choice, as you say, & I love writing! After supper is probably my second worst time for ‘playing’ on my Phone.

      Like you, I minimize my phone use when out & about. Don’t understand the mentality of meeting up, only to sit & play on Phones?! Handy for picture-taking though.

      You are very right about the collection of data, etc. Pretty crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • calmkate says :

        I sincerely believe that most of us have absolutely nothing to ‘hide’ but that data does give them huge insight into how to manipulate us … the ads and info are uniquely tailored for each and everyone of us ..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. roseelaineblog says :

    Very true the gadgets have taken oven, you only have to go out for a meal and couples are looking at their mobiles…… next week we are going away for a few days and there will be no phone/internet connection…. I am so looking forward to reading a book and having a proper break. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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