independent

Friday 22 August 2014

Ditch the digital for a refreshing taste of reality

Stephen Maguire

Published 20/05/2014 | 05:32

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Sports performance and life coach, Stephen Maguire.

WITH the recent Garda clamp-down on mobile phone use in our cars, a local sports performance and life coach, Stephen Maguire got to thinking – what if we laid down the phones a bit more often, and not just in our cars! Here are his thoughts on the subject.

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SO, the new laws are now officially in place and the Gardaí are cracking down on the use of mobile phones while driving – mandatory court appearance and a possible €1,000 fine.

Is this a harsh punishment? It is debatable. However, considering the number of road accidents and fatalities, I personally think not.

Will it be hard to police? Possibly.

But will it be equally hard not to use our phones? I think it will be very difficult for people to detach themselves from their phones.

I recently asked my four-year-old son what are phones for. He said: 'For playing games Daddy!' My one-year-old daughter screams for my phone and runs her finger along the touch screen like she knows what she is doing or looking for something in particular.

I find myself checking my phone every 20 minutes or so looking to see if anyone has been in touch via email or text – what are we afraid of missing?

If you walk into a coffee shop or look at people on a bus, train, Luas or even aeroplane most people's heads are buried into a smart phone or a tablet checking all different kinds of social media outlets, Facebook, LinkedIn, Whats App and many more I probably have not even heard about.

People are not talking anymore – the art of communication is falling by the wayside, particularly in our younger generation.

People look at how many 'friends' they have or how many 'likes' they get when they post pictures or comments but how realistic is any of it?

Of all your 500 friends on Facebook, how many of these have you spoken to in the last six months or year? How many of these have you even met face to face? People (myself included) post pictures of their children, family days out, nights out with the gang, etc. – nobody puts up pictures of the hangover the next morning, if you are feeling blue, or the stress you feel at work.

What is social about all of this? It is all superficial, it is all a front – have we lost the ability to show and share our emotions? Are we all in the head and not in the heart?

I worry our children might have limited social skills and not address their emotions and feelings. We should be leading by example and living in the present, being open, mindful and enjoying the life we have.

Where is all the vulnerability? There is so much strength in vulnerability – it is where we challenge ourselves and learn about ourselves. If we have an issue, we 'Google' it and look for the solution – it is all good having intelligence but what about our emotional intelligence.

God be with the days when blokes had to psych themselves up and pluck up the courage from somewhere (usually drink!) to go over and talk to a girl when out socialising.

It was one thing walking over, but it was more uncomfortable walking back where you came from with a 'thanks but I have a boyfriend already' still ringing in your ears!

But all that is life, all that is experience and when you look back at those days, all that was fun.

From what I hear now with the younger generation, most of it is prearranged on text or social media – where is the fun in all that?

So let's occasionally leave our phones behind or in your pocket – look up and take in what is around us. Say 'hi' to the person beside you and start a conversation. You just never know what it would lead to.

Fingal Independent

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