This is a creepy story of my life, or how to ruin your nervous system and never install Instagram

At the beginning of 2000, my family got the first phone – it was Motorola. After some time, I successfully became its owner. The second purchase was Nokia, and the ownership came to me at the age of 11 (I think), and I non-stop was playing the famous Snake game and chatting with friends. But the phone caused a bad relationship in my family.

My parents started taking the phone away from me when I was going to bed. My mom would say “Put it away! It’s not healthy to keep your phone near you while sleeping!” But why? I couldn’t get an answer; nobody could explain anything. Just those strange phrases. But at that age, I thought my parents get jealous that I have the gadget and spend a lot of time on it. I kept going my way and do what I wanted to do until I had my phone taken from me for hours, then days and then serious fights have taken place. And yes, just because I liked being on that fabulous device and only because my parents thought it’s not healthy. The same later happened with playing GTA and other shooting games my dad would download on our gigantic computer. However, the problem took a dramatic twist: I started to hit the mouse, keyboard or the hard drive when I couldn’t complete the mission. My father installed the password, and I wasn’t able to access the computer anymore. Some years later, I was hospitalized with the Dysautonomia condition for two weeks, and I heard the terrifying words. Do you know what? “It’s not allowed to use any mobile devices in the hospital…”

With time, I realized I don’t really have an addiction. When I was in secondary school, and the iPhone was on its peak, my parents wanted to get me that device. Some kids at school had it, but I didn’t want to. When I was asked another time about having a new cool tool, I said that I don’t want to look stupid as those folks do. I just need the phone to call, and that’s all. Three years later, after all, I changed my mind.

Of course, I’d love to spend more time offline, but at the same time, I have no problem with going to the shop without my phone. I do love writing to-buy-list on the sticker and holding it in my hand while choosing some groceries. I can fully enjoy parties because I came to spend time with friends and not shooting the stories to social media. My Facebook profile was made in late 2015, and it happened because of the university and online correspondence. I never had an Instagram account, because I was so sure (and I still am) that there are much more amazing things we should be busy with, then scrolling, following and photoshopping.

Do you have any crazy stories that you came through?

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Thank you so much for sharing your story @Daria!

It’s great you’ve been able to find a balance in your life when it comes to technology use, i.e. not needing your phone to buy groceries or partying without the need to record everything to document the experience! There are definitely more important things than scrolling, following and photoshopping.

There’s a great subreddit called Instagram Reality where people explain how images are faked (sometimes it’s obvious) and they post ‘sanity Sunday’ images which show normal people rather than photoshopped people from Instagram. It helps a lot of people who struggle with the selfie obsessed world. The sad thing is that people are even resorting to surgeries (that link is sometimes NSFW) to look like Instagram filtered images of themselves.

I do use Instagram but that’s largely due to the nature of my job. Stories are interesting as they come and go. I think the main issue with them is that people get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when they’re not able to view other people’s stories, particularly if they regularly check on those who post something every day.

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Hey daria, it really is a crazy story but not so different from so many around the world. I’m a teacher and believe me, the now-a-days kids are completely “addicted” to smartphones! I see groups of kids that spend every brake time, at school, playing games without talking or looking to each others. It’s weird! Last summer me and my girlfriend were on vacation period, camping as we like to do. My brother joined us with some mates and required electricity for their tent. Do you want to know why? To charge up their smartphone’s batteries once a day, not for food preserving, not to have light at night: for the damned smartphones! Here in Portugal there are marvelous beaches and we spent a lot of time there. There was this girl that simply couldn’t spend more than 10 minutes without grabbing her phone, and tapping and calling, and watching to some video or whatever imaginable. That precious time we spent visiting monuments and historic places, she spend it chatting with someone on social networks without even lifting her eyes to appreciate anything at all! We “kindly and gently” confronted her and she said that she couldn’t help it, she was completely hooked on her smartphone and all her “social” things and could not understand how easy it was for us to simply not pay any attention at all to our phones and she couldn’t understand either how could we spend so much time reading a book! What scares me the most is that this sort of behaviour is becoming very usual these days among youngsters. Are they the future of our society?

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Hey @gwydion, it’s nice to meet you!

Well, I’m not surprised to be honest, because I see that as well. I remember a funny situation one morning: one guy in the metro was scrolling the phone super fast and it made me so curious that I tried to see what he does. He was just anxiously scrolling his screen pages on the iPhone and clicking on the random apps (just clicking and closing, clicking and closing) - maybe it’s a disease? Not reading a physical book nowadays is a big problem too, I believe. The virtual world has replaced books. I have nothing against ebooks, but frankly speaking, this is not my thing or I haven’t yet found it interesting. My grandpa was the one who gave me the love of a particular smell of books and this very special sound when you’re turning the page of an old book. I’m always getting goose pimples when doing that, haha. Anyway, people start to forget what significance the literature used to have in human life. But, in my opinion, it’s one of the most useful and powerful tools for imagination and vocabulary.

How do you spend your time offline? And have you ever had any digital addictions?

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Hi Daria, the pleasure is all mine! I have a friend just like that guy in the metro. Once she told me it is “relaxing” (???)… whatever the word means to her. I totally agree with you, it must be some kind of disease. My country - Portugal - is one of European countries with the lowest rating of book sales. Technology has ruined the good old fashioned book reading. Kids and adolescents here are almost allergic to reading. “Boring” is the word they use to describe it and “best friend” to describe a smartphone. I understand what you mean by the “particular smell of books” and the sound of paper. In my personal library I have a few old books and some are as old as 19th century (Jules Verne’s books). I add to the smell, touch and sound, the way the text and images were printed, the lovely hard covers and the very interesting differences of that time’s grammar comparing today’s. Books build countries, kept cultures, immortalized great people and I couldn’t describe it better: “it’s one of the most useful and powerful tools for imagination and vocabulary”. Portuguese language is very rich and complex and our youth, caught in this reading crisis, speaks and writes worst by the day. I always enjoyed the world of old computer games (like arcades) but I wouldn’t call it addiction. I play a little (sometimes) and get bored soon after. I spend a lot of time offline, I don’t have any social networks and my job is usually live. I’m mostly addicted to sports and arts. I spend a lot of time practicing the piano and great highlands bagpipe, I’m a member of an origami group, I watch cinema a lot, I love to be at the countryside riding my bike and I play a lot of board games with my friends with a nice cup of tea next to me. What about you?