Have you got multiple screen-itis?
Question: how many screens are you looking at right now?
If you’re reading this at home on your phone, I bet you’ve got the TV on in the background. If you’re on your laptop, I’m sure you’re also mid WhatsApp with a friend.
If you’re out, I bet you’re walking along whilst scrolling through your social media newsfeed, checking emails and sort of reading this at the same time. But almost certainly not looking where you’re going. *Lamppost!*
Just stop a second.
That’s what I’ve had to say to myself a few times this week. Stop. Look up. Put the phone down. Look people in the eye. Or at least just one device at a time when you’re using one!
I’m getting a serious case of screen fatigue, and I don’t think I’m alone. Remember when you used to watch a TV series without also looking on Facebook? Or looking up that actor’s name on Wikipedia? Or reading other people’s banter on Twitter?
There are a couple of series I’m really into at the moment – namely Happy Valley (bit slow on the uptake, but better late than never; it’s incredible), and Homeland (always been a fan) – and despite being gripped by the brilliant action and superb writing, I have to put my phone out of reach or leave it in the other room or I’m tempted to double screen. Ridiculous! Is it addiction?
It’s Catch 22 though. If I don’t check social media or emails for a few hours, I feel overwhelmed with the amount I need to respond to. And actually a bit stressed at times. (Which is why this particular enforced incident was amazing). These days, there are so many different ways people can contact you that despite the brilliance of technology and the internet, it’s so easy to miss something. And I hate missing things, or feeling I’ve been rude and not replied.
Each day I check the following. And not just once of course!
When you write it down, it’s a lot isn’t it? Hmm.
Often I’ll see something flash up on my phone but can’t get to it until later – and then I’ve forgotten which medium it came through and can’t find it. Or forget about it completely. Terrible! So many ways to make contact, yet so hard to actually get hold of someone. Almost too many ways of communicating – what a bizarre situation. Most of the time I feel I need to respond to something straight away, or I might not do it at all. Perhaps that’s why I feel like I’m constantly on my phone.
Am I the only one who feels like this?
I wonder how it will affect our children too. We love books and going to the library, so I make sure we go at least once a fortnight for some good old fashioned reading of books (remember them?!). But there’s no point trying to avoid using tech in front of them completely as it’s an important part of every day life – socially and for work of course. I carry my phone about everywhere and I’m on it a lot though. Maybe it’ll be different again by the time my 3 year old is using tech. We’ve gone back to the Nokia with snake again after all. Who knows what we might be using when M is a teen!
But if you’re nodding along to any of this, let’s make a pact to try and at least control our usage. Perhaps set a time where we respond to all our messages and not panic that we’ve not managed to reply or check something immediately.
I love the spontaneity of social media though, so I just can’t see that happening. Maybe a lamppost in the face would be a good wake-up call…
I’d love to hear how you manage your screen time. Do you get bogged down too? Do you worry about it in front of your children? Or is it just really cool that we’ve got world at the touch of our fingertips?
Photo credit: Sarah Legge Photography