The rage of wearable tech has made a serious go at becoming one of the most-used forms of tech. These watches, pedometers, and more tell us how much activity we’ve had throughout the day, notify us of calls, texts, emails, etc. They let us check the weather without even having to reach into our pockets … really, they’ve made a life of notifications about as easy as it can get.
But what about the downsides? Even the best things in life come with some type of consequence, and wearable tech is no different. Aside from all the great things associated with daily tracking and notifications, what are some of the downsides?
First of all, they provide constant communication. You’re never not plugged in. When folks can get ahold of you through a device that’s attached directly to your body, you’re pretty much done making excuses for missed calls. You can’t get away from the outside world, even if you want to. While that’s readily convenient if and when you want it, it also means there’s no downtime … unless you make a conscious effort to disconnect and take a break from answering to everyone else.
Next, there’s the sheer amount of notifications. Your phone is already buzzing and beeping its tones of “you’ve got a message,” and some folks take the notion even further. For instance, I have iMessage connected to my computer; every time my phone gets an Apple text or FaceTime call, it pops up on my big screen as well as my little one. Add in my Fitbit (which buzzes with calls and messages) and some days I feel like I’m a user for WUPHF. (You know, the invention of Ryan, intern from the TV show, The Office, where people got text, voicemail, fax, Twitter, home phone, and computer notifications all at once? No, still don’t remember? Check out this clip: )
There are also specific device errors that might take place on an individual basis. My Mother-in-law’s armband stopped charging and she was sent a replacement. A girl I network with was burned by her Fitbit (ouch!), and the brand replaced the device. My brother’s Apple watch is perfect, in his opinion, but the net is filled with stories of its quirks, which also have been addressed by the brand. However, as these happen with all tech, there’s no need to blame them directly with those we wear.
Finally, it’s time to look at withdrawal. Your device has to charge up at some point, and most versions aren’t waterproof, meaning they have to be removed for showers and swimming (and intense sessions of dishes). After being so plugged in for so long, it’s hard to imagine what life might be like without one’s arm tech. Easing in might seem harmless, but once you remove said tech, you realize there’s a certain level of dependence.
While wearable tech is a great way to go, be sure you’re smart about how easily you can be reached. And looking out for how dependent you’ve become on staying plugged in. These devices are a great way to stay healthy and in touch with – well, everything – so long as we don’t get bogged down with electronics along the way.