Today OnePlus social media managers will not publish any tweets, upload any photos to Instagram and will not post anything on the company’s official Facebook page. No, not on strike: March 2nd is the #NoPhoneDay, a day of voluntary disconnection that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer launched in Italy in the wake of the National Day of Unplugging, with the aim of promoting a more informed use of smartphones.
The devices we carry in our pockets are always more powerful and allow us to do a thousand things: to stay in touch with an extended social circle at any time of day or to receive constant updates on the news and facts of the world.
Leaving them off for 24 hours is a first step, a bit drastic but effective, to understand how these incredible potentials have created new forms of dependence from which we are all more or less affected.
“Those who suffer from the disconnection syndrome”, explains the psychologist Giuseppina di Carlo, “get to behave incorrectly, like spending most of the day online, constantly monitoring the arrival of notifications, use the smartphone in inappropriate situations or dangerous for the health, sleeping with the mobile next to them, waking up at night to check the messages…” It is a contemporary neurosis so widespread that it has deserved its own name: Nomophobia. It should not be confused with Fear Of Missing Out, the uncontrollable fear of losing news and information, which in some ways is another side of smartphone abstinence.
If you recognise yourself in some of these symptoms, do not be overwhelmed by anxiety. Realising the problem is already a first step towards a more balanced digital life. The dependence on our connected devices does not necessarily have to be tackled with a drastic detoxification, which risks making us feel even worse in case of “relapses”, but rather with a gradual process of awareness and a path of education to the conscious use of smartphones. Rather than using them less, tout court, we must learn to use them better, that is, so that they add value to our lives and our social connections, in the virtual world as in the real world.
OnePlus ‘ invitation to a more conscious use of the smartphone may seem a contradiction for a device manufacturer that owes its success to ever-faster electronic trinkets, performing and functional to a hyper-connected life. In fact, OnePlus is a response to the growing demand of users who on the one hand require ever more innovative and technologically advanced products, but at the same time recognize the need for a return to a more human dimension of technology .
It is therefore no coincidence that the latest versions of Android and iOS, the operating system of the iPhone and iPad, have introduced dedicated functions to monitor in a granular way the use of devices . On OnePlus smartphones, as on many other Android terminals, the reference app is called “Digital Wellness” : it allows you to always keep under control the usage metrics of the device, with graphs that summarize the time of use of the applications, the hours of switching on the screen or the number of notifications received. Also on the iPhone, starting from iOS 12, there is a similar function. It’s called “Usage Time “and is located in the first “Settings” screen. From the menu you can check the timing of use of the apps by category (social networks, games, reading, productivity, etc.) and set usage limits on specific applications or on the sites visited most often on the Safari browser.