How unconsciously reliant are you on daily screen contact? Who of us wake up to the dreaded sound of the phone alarm every morning? How much of your day is spent all day in front of a computer, punctuated by overly regular checking in on text messages or Facebook updates on our phone?
The modern world we live in allows us to be very accessible to so many screen toys: iPods for music, kindles for books, and iPads for playing online. We can connect online the minute we step in the door at home, whether it is checking out Facebook, personal emails, bank accounts, or twitter. We can find on the iPad a recipe for the evening meal, relax with the TV, and then flick back to the iPhone just before bed to set the alarm and begrudgingly consult the to-do list that never gets done... Sounds crazy when you put it like that, but that's life in 2013! How does this constant screen contact affect us and the way we think, interact, relax and wind down?
How good for us is screen contact?
What is screen sucking really doing to us? Dr Hallowell in his book Crazy Busy discussed how more than ever, we are finding that we have less and less time to do the things that we'd like to do; and one of the problems that is sucking up our time is screens. Screen suckers' become increasingly lured into the intricacies of technology due to the infinite and engrossing information at our fingers, the addictive nature of social networking, television channels and online games galore
So how does screen sucking this affect our wellbeing and sense of satisfaction with our lives? Facebook is a great example; apparently the people who spend more time on Facebook are more unhappy and lonely. One of the potential reasons is the Facebook aspects of overly positive image promotion which portrays an image of others having happier, busier and more sociable lives than the actual reality. How does the average person's life compare? Isolation and lack of physical activity are side effects of screen time which can also be detrimental to wellbeing.
Bucking the Trend
Not surprisingly, a trend seems to be happening to stem the tide of constant screen sucking. People are now making conscious efforts to resist the constant barrage of interactive, instant and seemingly addictive online personal messages. Screens are a part of modern life, and there's no way around it. Paul Miller spent a year without the internet as he felt it was making him unproductive and antisocial, but in the end realised 'The internet is where people are' he was greatly missing out on connecting with others. It seems that the trick is in balancing screen time with real world activities and face to face interaction.
Sleep and Screen Time
Everyone knows the benefits of a good nights sleep, but did you know your screen sucking habits can significantly impact the quality of sleep? I started researching the effects of LED lighting emitted from the technology we affectionately call our lifeline; and the potentially unfavourable consequences on cognitive performance in the workplace. That is a topic for another days blog, but we can't avoid it, what should we do?
My suggestion is just to take time to consider your current screen sucking behaviours. Recognise when you're mindlessly browsing and wasting precious time. Find something else to do for the last hour of each day - pick up a book, go for a walk, or communicate the old fashioned way!