Ditching tech now a concern

Ditching tech now a concern

FOMO is a new term, an abbreviation for Fear of Missing Out. Bengalureans are learning to battle this phenomenon, triggered mostly by social media

The city is waking up to the idea of cutting off from technology. Many hospitality companies are encouraging guests to engage in face-to-face conversations without FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) setting in.

Many schools and colleges tell their students to keep away from mobile phones, but in other places, the idea is to encourage people to stay away voluntarily from distracting technology.

Byg Brewski Brewing Company, with outlets in Hennur and Sarjapur, now has a section where guests can’t use mobile phones. 

Pravesh Pandey, director, operations, says the company noticed how family, friends and couples hardly talked to each other, and were constantly looking at their phones. That is how the pub’s initiative #NoFOMO was born. 

“The thought of why we aren’t encouraging people to socialise occurred to us. While technology is important, it is also important we don’t become slaves to it,” he says.  

Guests seated in the #NoFomo zone are given a little chat about the idea and encouraged to talk to one another.

“Each table has a sack for guests to put in their phones. It is a challenge they take up and see how long they can be without looking at the phone,” explains Pravesh.

If they have an important call to make or take, they have to step out of the zone.

The pub has board games like Jenga, ice breaker cards, a telescope to look up into the night sky, and scribbling pads and stationery for the doodlers and poets.

Guests participating in the initiative are offered a 10 per cent discount on their food and soft beverages bill. 

OnePlus 7 Pro, the latest in the range, has a ‘zen mode’, which when switched on, pauses the phone. You can make emergency calls and use the camera, but all other functions are disabled. 

Szymon Kopec, product lead, OnePlus, says, “We have noticed that most of our users are the Gen Z. The zen mode is active for 20 minutes, and you won’t be able to do anything with your phone except make and receive emergency calls, and take photos. The concept is simple: be detached from your phone for some time.”

What do people say?

When the zen feature was announced at the launch, many people were taken aback that they won’t be able to use their phones.

“Now, the responses are pretty positive. We want to bring this awareness among people. People agree that this is a good move,” says Szymon. 

Why cut off?

Neha Cadabam, psychologist, says we tend to get attached to technology out of a fear of missing out on events, emails and stories of what is happening in other people’s lives. 

“Back in time, people spent a lot of time together. When there was no power at home, they would sit around just chatting about anything and everything or just play a little game.”

“The scene is different today. We are constantly preoccupied with technology. Hence, we are missing out on where we are and what we are doing,” she says.  

Posting a night out with friends might look happening but are we actually living the moment, she wonders.  

“When one feels insecure, dissatisfied or incomplete, they reach out to social media to compensate. Like a couple tends to update their social media, first thing after a breakup. It is like a mandate. There are people who are constantly on their phones while driving, chatting or sitting with friends, these are all signs of some vacuum that they are trying to fill by tuning in to the virtual world,” explains Neha. 

Is it healthy?

From outside, social media may make it look like one is connecting with many people but that doesn’t always help. “It is like smoking when you are low -- it might give you temporary relief but it is harming you from the inside,” she says.

There is a high chance of depression with excessive use of technology because it makes people constantly compare themselves with others.

What is FOMO?

Cambridge defines FOMO as a worrying feeling that you may miss exciting events that other people are enjoying. It is especially caused by pictures and videos you see on social media.

Resorts with no Internet

Heard of black hole resorts? It is a concept popular in Europe, where resorts and hotels follow a ‘no technology’ initiative. When you reach a black hole resort, you can’t speak on the phone, watch TV, or use the Internet.

Black hole resorts are among the most expensive in the world. Not in India yet, but it’s high time it came here, many would say.

Try this

When you go out for lunch or dinner with a group, ask everyone to pile up their phones in a corner of the table. Lay down the condition that whoever uses the phone first foots the bill. See if you can get a free lunch!