OPINION: A lesson in switching off by Hit Network’s Tommy Casha

The way in which social media and mobile devices consume our lives in 2017 has reached a point where I’ve recently been forced to question myself on the amount and reason I’m using them. I was living my life on the six-inch iPhone screen and using it to give me validation.

The realisation came to me in two parts. The initial observation came when I was walking home from work and listening to Ryan and Tanya from Hit 104.7 Canberra’s podcast.

Tanya was telling a story about how her phone died over the weekend when she was visiting friends in Melbourne. As someone who spends hours a day on her device, Tanya expressed her feelings of relief and joy when her phone died because she now had no reason to be on it over the weekend.

She explained how she noticed the city’s beautiful architecture, read her book and had a conversation with someone while at the airport waiting to return home to Canberra.

Imagine that. Having a conversation with a human sitting next to you instead of engaging in the online world of Facebook or Instagram.

You could hear the huge smile on her face as Tanya explained that she arrived home and decided to converse with her boyfriend instead of watching TV or sitting on her phone. That got me.

My girlfriend and I have recently been watching Orange Is The New Black. Don’t judge me; I was re-watching it with her because she hadn’t seen it. She would always complain that I was on my phone while we were watching the show – and I was always on my phone in bed. And whenever we’re in the car, and I’m not driving.

So I thought, it might be worth trying to take a bit of a break from my phone and the digital age of 2017.

Later that day I was listening to another podcast when I had the second part of the realisation, which hit closer to home. Yes, another podcast. I work in radio, so I consider this my ‘homework’. I was listening to Amos, Cat & Angus from Hit 107 Adelaide.

Angus was explaining that every time he comes to Victoria to visit his Mum, he doesn’t spend any quality time with her. He sits on the couch, scrolling through his phone and has little patience for her. Now that being said, he expressed how grateful he is for everything his Mum has done for him and that he wants to change and repair the relationship because his Mum is the most important person in his life.

I’m so glad Angus has the courage to discuss this on-air because for many years I’ve thought I was on my own. I love my family, but I don’t have the kind of relationship with either of my parents that my friends do.

I’ve never been to the pub for a beer with Dad. Never gone to the movies with Dad – although he does constantly ask me and I’m always ‘too busy’. Probably watching a game of footy on TV or going out with mates somewhere cool so I can get a good upload for Instagram. What a wanker.

And it’s the same with Mum. She’ll ask me how work is and I’ll just give short answers because I’m ‘too busy’ watching everyone’s Snapchat stories from last night to have a proper conversation with my Mother. Again. What a wanker.

Why do I even care what the AFL players I follow on Instagram are doing? Why do I care what that random girl from Tinder who I met up with a few times is doing on Snapchat? Seriously. It’s been a very eye opening experience.

So to Tanya Hennessy and Angus O’Loughlin – I thank you.

I look forward to logging off and connecting again with the people that matter the most to me.

Listen to Jess and Tommy on Hit 96.9 Goulburn Valley, 6am to 9am weekdays.

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