Life Before Devices

  • Sophie 

If I was to ask you to close your eyes and either imagine yourself before you had a tablet or smart phone, or indeed if these have always been part of your life, to imagine them not being in life, how might that feel?

Ok, I’m not sure how long you gave yourself, possibly not that long. So, I would like you to close your eyes again and this time, I would like you to go back and find a memory of before devices for you.

If you have grown up with them, bear with me and we will have another exercise. We will just let the pre-device people catch up.

How was it for you to look at yourself, however long ago it was? What do you remember, how did it make you feel? Did you struggle to remember what it was like?

I have to say when I did that exercise, I really struggled, each time I tried to visualise myself I was sitting on the sofa with my iPad firmly in my hands. I think in the end the memory that I arrived at, was sitting outside on a summers evening, talking and not a device in sight! But believe me it took some trawling through my archive memories to find it!

Right onto the second part and this is where everyone can join in.

I would like you to give yourself some time to go through each of these questions, rather than race through them (because you need to check your Instagram feed)!

1) How long do you think spend a day / week on your device(s) for personal reasons?
2) Are you happy with the amount of time you spend, or would like to reduce it?

3) What percentages of time that you spend on your device, is actively learning vs. scrolling with no direction?

4) Name two things that you could do if you were not on your device.

I wonder how hard / easy it was to look at those questions and answer them? I am acutely aware that Q.4 is a tricky one, because you may feel you want to learn a language but hey, there’s the Duolingo App for example.

So, it can be really tricky to pull ourselves away from our device, because let’s face it, we can do so much on it.

I am not for one moment acting as the ‘device police’ although you may have already tarnished me with that label, however I just feel it could be really interesting for you to see how you feel leaving the house without your device.

Or, having an evening device free, or maybe start off with an hour if that feels too tricky.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our devices are amazing and can offer us so much, I am also acutely aware how they can prevent conversations from happening. You might think the person you are talking to isn’t really listening because they are on their on device, or what they are reading / looking feels more important than what you have to say.

I am not here to say whether there is a right or wrong way, but I just wondered how it may have felt, to have seen yourself in your life before your device?


Our devices can enhance our lives and we can learn for them not to hinder them.