For someone who have been in IT for nearly 15 years, a debate on whether Digital or Not is quite exciting and at the same time make me little nervous too.
Millennials (born before '86) are in someway "lucky" to have the first hand experience of Pre and Post "Digital explosion". Yes we were lucky since our childhood was not so addicted to technology or gadgets, so we had the joy of being creative during our play time and mostly doing the age appropriate stuff with little distraction apart from a "bully" friend who might have annoyed us at school or outside.
Fast forward 30 years, we see our kids completely immersed in to this world where everything is almost "Virtual". Friends, Games, Science etc are not real anymore, they are almost led to believe our lives are just a few gadgets, Internet and Google is everything. It takes a lot out of us parents to bring that balance of educating them on things like empathy, caring, tolerance , patience to name few. I specifically picked on these aspects since these are human emotions or characteristics that even a most advanced Bot will struggle to address. So in this new world kids and adults are loosing their "human connect" and just getting carried away with their "self-centred" lifestyle.
I strongly believe the digital explosion has direct effect on the human behaviour as it has taken over the thinking capabilities from us and everything is "dumped" in your mind. So to sift through this garbage of digital information and get the best you want, you got to be a clever person. A normal person will struggle with this as they can be influenced with what they see or read.
Now saying everything is caused by digital is little unfair too, we as humans evolve and we transform from being one kind to another kind. I guess we are becoming a new kind that is what will be the new norm and people will start accepting that as "normal". We would have heard from our grand parents that they had 4, 6, 8 or 10 kids even. It reduced to say 2-3 in the previous generation and now it has reached to mere 1 with parents often debating about it. So we can easily see how things evolve and how something that was normal 50 years back is not normal anymore.
So agreeing that the new normal is "digital world", this is a huge challenge for us humans.
Our human bodies don't evolve at the same speed as the technology. So the way I see it, our brain for example is say 4GB processor cannot perform a 8GB processor's task. But that's what we are trying to do to our body now in this new normal digital world. You might think, I am used to this, I don't have any problems. So whats the fuss here?
Every individual is different and their capabilities vary. So someone spending time Reading news, Insta, Facebook, Watsapp, Twitter etc may not have same impact as the other one doing the same. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions, are all individual so no one can quantify how much these things have impacted you. But the impact is definitely there in everyone of us and that impact is, it influences our thinking, it alters our emotions, knowledge etc. But whether these are positive effects or not is completely left with the individual. From my experience I can say, it mostly is positive 50-negative 50 and it can sway either way depending upon ones personal traits . Let me give some examples
When I see a post on Facebook regarding a friend who lost his dear one, I will convey my condolences by a message in the post. But I just assume that is all that I need to do since I replied to his post. But if I didn't have this, yes I wouldn't have known about the death in the first place, but I'm sure somehow the news would have reached me (people informed their relatives death via telegrams 30 years back). So without a digital news, I would have picked the phone to talk more in person to my friend as soon as I heard of it. Now there is an emotional connect between me and my friend which wouldn't be possible by just leaving a "sad" emoji in the Facebook post.
By now the smart pants who are reading this will be thinking, who is stopping you from phoning your friend if hes that important after seeing his post on FB? I totally get you, but the point I'm trying to make here is with the digital influence the emotions are not same anymore, so once you reply or leave the emoji you move on to read your next post about someone holidaying in Maldives etc. So instantly your mind has now moved on from sorrow to excitement. This is the "influence" I think is troublesome for us humans.
There are corporate who know there is demand from us so they keep feeding us via digital platforms. The more we ask, the more they give. By asking more, we are giving back our freedom, privacy, valuable time, our identity and most importantly our humanity.
We could easily be without some of them digital stuff and happily live, people still live without phones, internet in remote parts of world and they lead a very healthy life in fact. But its the "fear" of not being connected to the world is making us to keep "swiping our screens" in hope something will happen. Nothing will happen with your control and anything can happen without your control.
One of the many ways of being social and also clever is to turn off all "notifications" from any site or app. This way you are not constantly buzzed with feeds and posts. (this applies to my blog too). So this negates the urgency to keep checking your gadgets for updates.
Also think to keep your digital (phone/laptop etc) away at important times during your day like toilets (yes approx 75% Americans use phones in toilet), breakfast, lunch & dinner. This will easily get you free 2 hrs each day of quality time. Similarly while driving (nearly 1.5 million car crashes due to phone usage) or walking on streets with phones is dangerous to you and others. So there are ways we can get us free from this "digital jail", but how much of Parole time you will get depends on your good behaviour!
I can imagine some of you now thinking, yes this phone is a curse! But hang on, every technology is invented to help aid humans and it should stay that way. Its us, who need to put them in their places. More like showing who the boss is when it comes to your naughty kids in a Disney toy store. So be prepared to fight this with in you!
You are your own Boss, never let anything Boss you !