OpinionThe Balanced BriefWellness

Wednesday Wellbeing: Put that phone down! By Fareha

Public Service Announcement: LOOK UP FROM YOUR PHONES!



We all do it, head down looking at or reading something on our phones. You may even be reading this on your phone!

While smartphones have their many advantages and yes, I readily admit we do “need” them; we have become a society dependant, and dare I say it, addicted, to our phones. There is a facility on most phones which lets you know the time you actually spend on your phone, (check your screen time in settings and brace yourselves).
Most people I have spoken to have been alarmed by what this reveals to them. You don’t need to be a medical professional to realise that too much time on your phone is not good for general health and well-being. On the daily commute, I am struck by how people are so completely absorbed by their phones. They fail to notice the beauty in their surroundings, the person that just smiled at them, or the disadvantaged individual clearly in need of a seat more than them.

People reading a physical copy of a book is becoming an increasingly rare sight.

In restaurants, phones appear frequently on the dining table.
After you get that all important photo to share with friends and family, put the phone away and give your undivided attention to the company you are in. Savour that meal and worry less about documenting it for others to comment upon. I have implemented a “no phones at the dinner table” policy in my own home which means family time is not interrupted.

At music events, if you’re spending too much time recording it, you’re sacrificing your enjoyment for others.

Isn’t it deeply irritating when a friend has come out to meet you but then  constantly check their phones?

It seems many of us have lost the ability to simply focus on the real world and appreciate the company we’re in.

As a mother of a teenager, I worry for the generation that has never experienced life without smartphones. Posting something on social media or liking a post is a poor substitute for having an actual conversation about that experience or event. It is uplifting to get a call, just because that person wants to know how you are, and what you’ve been up to. I tell my son, “a warm hug and a bright smile”, is a precious thing indeed. Be careful not to place too much value on the number of “likes” from strangers on social media.

So, my advice is to look up from your phones. Make the effort to maintain valued connections. Those emails from work can wait and that post on Instagram will still be there later. Instead, make that call to the friend you’ve been meaning to call for agesor better still, meet that friend for a coffee.

Perhaps it is time for us all to take a moment to appreciate what is around us. You will feel better for it!


Fareha Choudhury