What are our screens doing to us?
Watch this video. And ask others to watch it.
Of course in a sense our screens are doing no more to us than presenting us with sensory input, or opportunities for sensory input. And so the question is more “what are we doing with our screens,” or even “what are we losing while we are attending to the input from our screens.”
In my case, one of the significant things I’m losing is the quality and quantity of my sleep. I stay up too late reading. I always (thanks to the Zite and Pocket apps) have plenty of thought-provoking articles queued up, ready to read. As a consequence I end up being chronically sleep-deprived. I’m an addict!
I recently tried an experiment in not using screens after 10 PM, allowing myself time to wind down before bed, and also plugging my iPad mini in to charge in the livingroom, rather than taking it to bed with me and having it be the first and last things I interacted with during the day. That was a great experiment. It really felt like I was facing my addiction, and giving myself better quality sleep, which in itself improved the quality of my concentration. And then I did some travelling and there was no longer a separate room in which I could charge the iPad overnight, and when I came hope I just forgot about my resolution.
I can meditate every day without fail. No problem. I can become vegan and stick to it without cravings for dairy. No problem. But getting to bed at a reasonable hour? That’s a problem.
So I’m going back to my resolution: no screens after ten and no iPad in bed. And now I know that when I travel I have to be careful not to blow it entirely. It’s work in progress, and I’ll let you know how I get on. You are my Technology Addicts Anonymous group, and I’m glad you’re there to bear witness to my struggles.