Day Five: The Digital Detox Begins!

SO I was sitting in the mosque during Jummah the other day when I noticed a group of women sitting in front of me, bunching together. It was particularly packed that day and there were a lot of new faces because we had a guest imam giving the sermon. Suddenly, one of them raises her hand and all three women leaned in to take a selfie.

I was shocked, but it didn’t stop there.

They then proceeded to take photos of the mosque itself, which is a little understandable, the building is beautiful. But the timing was inappropriate.

But it didn’t stop there.

They then decided to take videos, zooming in on the speaker and then panning back to themselves looking very serious and enthralled DURING THE SERMON!!!

Once they had the footage they wanted it was quickly uploaded to social media. I can tell because the damned phones didn’t stop buzzing for the rest of the service as they got notification after notification that their videos and photos were being liked and viewed by their waiting audience.

Now, I don’t think I have reached that level yet, but I can admit that I have at times given too much preference to my online persona and neglected my real life. And that tendency not only affects my relationships but also models a bad habit to my kids. If I live in an escapist way, they will follow suit, preferring online relationships to real ones. And I don’t want that for them. More than that, Ramadan is supposed to be about plugging in, not tuning out. So I have been more mindful of how and when I use my phone and have been changing my daily digital habits; instituting a daily digital detox.

On this topic, I don’t think it could ever be said better (or with cooler photos) than it was said HERE. This approach really works and so if you are wondering HOW to detox try using some of their tips.

I will say that I have been using an app called Forest: Stay Focused, Be Present, that was designed to combat phone addiction. It’s available in the app store. The point is that if you want to do all of the cool things you have planned for your life (and Ramadan), you should spend less time on social media. Find REAL activities to do. Read REAL books. Meet people face to face and have REAL conversations. If nothing else, your phone will stay charged longer.

Don’t just take photos and videos of your family and friends, be present with them. It often feels like, if there isn’t a photo of it, it didn’t really happen, but trust me IT DID! And it was awesome. And you missed it because you were fumbling with your phone settings.

As somebody who is plugged into the internet for a living, I understand how easy it is to live your life online. But, trust me, it is still way cooler out here with the rest of us. So this reminder is truly for me first.

This year I am going to work to decrease my digital life and spend more time being present and mindful, not just during Ramadan, but all year round.


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