Put Down The Phone/Camera!

We do a lot of travelling (if you haven’t noticed!). We love it. Exploring is our thing. It drives us and excites us. We are always up for putting ourselves outside of our comfort zones, with and without the camera in hand.

It’s necessary for us sometimes to take a trip and soak in the experience in front of us without a lens between our eyes and the scenery.

But do you know when to put the camera away? And how do you know?

Throughout our travels, I have learnt a lot about mindfulness. My mind has been expanded through every new experience, person we’ve met and destination. As tempting as it is to try and capture every moment, doing so can sometimes take away from having a full experience. It is much like putting your phone away at the table. All of us have had to learn to make conscious habit changes to form manners around technology usage.

However, when it comes to taking photos, the lines of appropriateness are a lot less defined. When you see something magnificent, your first instinct may be to capture it and share it with loved ones (or a following). This seems innocent and harmless, but what happens when you suddenly realise all of your experiences were captured for the purpose of sharing an image with a stranger, rather than truly absorbing the experience for yourself? You realise you didn’t really have the experience but rather hid behind a screen to prove to a stranger that you had a “really authentic time”. Or perhaps it was to try and make somebody jealous of your “adventurous” lifestyle?

Are you truly then an adventurer or are you just a show-off who is having a less than full experience while you post a series of photos in a carousel with some dark, mysterious, hipster filter?

How was your delicious coffee? Or was it too cold to drink because you took too long taking a photo of it and posting it to “the gram”?

You might think I’m getting a bit sassy here, but this is a real issue. You can try and deny it, but that’s just the world we live in now and it’s only going to become more and more technological and online based. In fact, it has already been noticed and well thought through by highly intelligent minds.

In historian Yuval Harari’s latest book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”, he discusses his very specific thoughts and observations on this:

Zuckerberg says that Facebook is committed ‘to continue improving our tools to give you the power to share your experience’ with others. Yet what people might really need are the tools to connect to their own experiences. In the name of ‘sharing experiences’, people are encouraged to understand what happens to them in terms of how others see it. If something exciting happens, the gut instinct of Facebook users is to pull out their smartphones, take a picture, post it online, and wait for the ‘likes’. In the process they barely notice what they themselves feel. Indeed, what they feel is increasingly determined by the online reactions.”

It’s sad that we have come to this point but it is necessary now more than ever to ensure that individually we are doing something about it ourselves and keeping ourselves accountable. It’s great that people are noticing and taking the steps towards becoming more connected humans.

No wonder activities such as meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly popular. We now need to be taught how to be mindful and truly immerse in an experience. We are starting to get it.

I believe that the most important thing in all of this is BALANCE. Surprise! See, I’m not saying that you should stop posting pictures of your coffee, or of the sweet campfire you had with friends over the weekend. But maybe you should be spending less time fussing over those photos? Take a snap, add it to stories and enjoy the rest of your night. Someone doing a sweet rain dance? Maybe just leave your phone aside and get up and join in instead. It doesn’t ALL need to be captured on a phone, but it ALL needs to be captured in your mind’s memories and your heart. THAT is what’s important.

With the world quickly becoming more online and social media focused with each day, it is more important now than ever to put in thought and strategy into your time on a screen.

Later this week, we’ll share some of our own tips and strategies of how we stay intentional with our time on and offline, with and without a camera.

Setting up disciplines may seem silly to some, but will have lasting positive affects and are probably more important than we can currently comprehend.

Do you have rules in place for yourself (not just your kids!) when it comes to your online interactions?

We’d love to hear your own thoughts on this topic. Feel free to leave a message for us in the comments!

Lets encourage more healthy conversations around this increasingly important topic!