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Let's get connected

BY: Arku Jasmine

Technological advances in the delivery of information has presented us with countless opportunities to send and receive news instantaneouslyContinuing on the theme of happenstances this month of July, the background for my topic for today begins in the hair salon. I can’t remember how the conversation got round to technology but somehow it did.

My stylist started off by complaining about how she could have done better things with her time than to have gone visiting a friend. Lamenting, she recounted how her friend practically spent the whole time ‘WhatsApping’.

Thus, they were not able to have any meaningful time together. Other clients in the salon joined in the discussion. Some complained about the intrusion of mobile phones in every arena of life.

There was a story about how someone almost got knocked down by a car because the person’s face was fixed on the phone screen instead of paying attention to the road.

It seemed like everyone in the salon had some story to share. What was the common thread of the chit chat at the hair salon? Technology.

It truly is amazing just how far we have come with being able to connect with others via the use of technology. In the not too distant past, when you had anything of interest to share with someone or when you had to set up a meeting, you would go and knock on their door, pick up the telephone, or send a letter.

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I remember quite well when Mobitel first released the mobile phone onto the Ghanaian market. Then, very few people owned mobile phones. Since then, we have come a long way in our ability to connect with one another.

Not only do most people own a mobile phone and use for voice calls, but also for Text, E-mails, Skype, Instagram, Facebook, browsing and much more.

Technological advances in the delivery of information has presented us with countless opportunities to send and receive news instantaneously.

You can send a message to any part of the world, at any time of the day, and it will be transmitted instantly. I cannot even imagine how we managed without the Internet? Any information you want is literally at your fingertips or should I say, a google search away.

In fact, we may not even be fully aware of just how dependent we have become on the Internet and mobile phones. Technology that was once considered to be a luxury has almost come to the point of being a necessity.

For the most part, technology is awesome and provides us with opportunities that we didn’t have before. I would not have been able to work from home if it had not been for the Internet and the computer.

I would not have been able to link up with old friends from secondary school and even primary school so easily if it had not been for social media sites such as Facebook.

I think it is wonderful how easy technology has made our lives yet, I cannot also help wondering if sometimes we allow it to take over.

The irony is that while technology helps us to manage information so we can be better organised, it can also lead to a challenge of control. If you think I am exaggerating, the next time you are in any public space, look around you and observe the number of people who are on their mobile phones.

If they are not talking to someone on it, they are texting or checking for messages every few minutes instead of relating to the people accompanying them. Pay attention and you’ll notice just how many beeps and buzzes are coming from the people around you.

At home, someone checks an e-mail, turns on their iPad or laptop, responds to a text, taking calls whenever and wherever. So we end up with families, friends sitting together but unable to interact with each other because they are so busy interacting with devices.

When do you relax if you are “always on” and always connected? I am not saying there is anything wrong with going high tech. It is how you use it.

Let’s not get so hooked up to being connected that we forget to make the most of living. When you are using your tablet, laptop and mobilephone, eventually the power runs out and you need to connect to a power source to recharge the battery.

See yourself as a device that also needs to disconnect to recharge. Give yourself some time off without notifications and reminders that you have a mail, a text message and constant Facebook updates that pull you for a response.

By doing so, you will claim a lot of extra time for yourself, reconnect with family and friends and perhaps reconnect with something called relaxation. That’s not a bad idea at all is it?

This article is to empower you to make a conscious effort to disconnect and take a much-needed break from a digital life. If you do that you, and not a device, are taking control over your life.

Remember, there is a time and place for everything. A time to send a text or Facebook status update and a time to connect on a personal level. Now it is up to you to decide the impact technology will have on your lifestyle.

Let’s get connected to life by disconnecting.

By Barbara Sai Djangmah
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