Anita Potgieter, COO at FOXit.
It takes a concerted effort to change one's mindset and truly ‘switch off’ in order to gain balance and preserve sanity. Communities the world over have become entirely dependent on technology to communicate and interact, and the result is less quality time with friends and loved ones, as well as significant impact on personal wellbeing, says Anita Potgieter, COO at FOXit.
There is no denying the fact that connectivity is now deeply entrenched in modern society. More specifically, it is social networking that has overtaken many other channels to become the primary means of communication.
Therein lies a problem. There are countless media reports of crimes committed via the social network – and there is no doubt that one needs to exercise caution when making information (especially personal information) available on these public platforms. But aside from this social issue, there is a danger of becoming reliant on technology and social networking to the extent that one does not ‘switch off’.
There has to be an ‘off time’, a time when one is not locked into technology and can offer due care and attention to family and friends.
I am not on Facebook, and while it seems daunting at first, one soon gets used to it.
This is really important because families need time together to strengthen bonds and grow together. The reality of life today is that a person with a happy, balanced personal life is far more productive at work, and therefore a valuable asset.
Although the need to be online and always connected is obviously very addictive – if one puts one's mind to it, it can be refreshing to adopt a new approach and abstain from online connectivity for as long as possible.
We have to be realistic – there is no way we could completely ignore the social network revolution or isolate ourselves from devices and technology that offer up the ability to connect and communicate anytime, anywhere.
With the pace of today’s hectic lifestyle, there is little opportunity to see friends and family as often as one would like.
Social media affords us the opportunity to know what is happening in each other’s lives, without having to pick up the phone or go for a visit.
We thrive on social networks and social media because we, as humans, depend on information.
As we near the festive season, it is perhaps an opportune time for parents to review their social networking habits and lead by example as far as children or younger users are concerned.
If parents switch off from social media, it will help kids realise that they do not really need to be constantly online. Also, I believe parents should explain to their kids the importance of a holiday and that not having social media will not ‘hurt’ them, but actually help them to have a better time as a family.