A decade ago, when we dared each other, the questions were varied and involved ghosts and broken bones. Now the question is would you remain offline for a week if you were promised a million dollars? Everything is at your fingertip, knowledge, food, information, clothes, communicating with someone anywhere in the world, medical assistance, help of all kinds, everything. Living under a rock now means you don’t know what the latest photo-sharing app is.
On the other hand, sensory overload is something the youth suffers from. Our general outlook towards life has also changed. Immediate responses, immediate action, always updated about everything. Not to sound cliché, but we do miss out on the things in front of us, we miss out on experiencing the moment, it is all about how other people see you living your life. Keeping in touch with the physical world is just as important, both for our mental well being and because we are meant to. As a fringe benefit, we might actually pick up a few skills along the way, instead of ‘googling’ how to get it done each time.
While disconnecting completely can result in unpaid bills, no appointments, and possibly disastrous outcomes, here are a few ways to ensure that you don’t miss out on everything that’s not on the interwebs.
Establish tech-free zones – Remember we had a ‘no reading at the dinner table’ rule? This was before gadgets took over people. But the rule can remain the same. Details and location can change from family to family, but have zones where gadgets are a no-no for everybody.
Hold family events – Carry out the event with no help from the internet. Ask around about games, borrow boards and other essentials, go to the local grocery shop or stationer’s or whoever else to buy supplies. Find out recipes from recipe books, let trial and error guide you through non-dangerous activities.
Go for nature walks – The most obvious entry on this list, visit your community parks often, walk, run, sit and watch the kids and the people and the animals. Observe the trees, the flowers, the butterflies, all the bugs that freak you out! Make a mental note of the species, and look them up in an encyclopedia, later.
Go on drives – It is relaxing, it is exhilarating, it is soul-fulfilling. Play some music on your music player, switch off your internet, fill your fuel tank, and drive through an unpursued path. Enjoy the momentary adrenaline rush, the joy of discovery, the feeling of oneness with everything around you, physically, not virtually.
Visit the local library – Discover the treasures of the world, there is nothing you will not find at a library, probably except for information from the past 24 hours. Remember the joy and excitement of waiting for that day of the week when you could head back to the library to borrow new books? Don’t let kindles and PDFs take that away from you! Enjoy the smell of new books, the feel of the book in your hand, the flesh memory of your favorite parts, and help keep the tradition of bookstores and libraries alive.
Volunteer – With all kinds of news accessible from anywhere in the world, we are watching the plight of the refugees, the voiceless, the harmed, the displaced, the ones struck by natural and manmade disasters, as and when they occur. Volunteer at your nearest shelter or help center, experience the life first hand, know and partake in the rehabilitation, feel the facts that you read online, see with your own eyes the videos taken through strangers’ devices. Be there, to lend a hand, to donate food or clothing, to help them by doing more than sharing a post on social media.