Screen Addiction

Screens are everywhere. Be it a home computer or a shop, self service machine. Whether we like it not, screens have become ingrained in our lives. In many ways the advancement in technology has helped make our lives easier. Self service machines provide us with a quick and efficient way of doing our shopping, removing the drudgery of waiting in a shopping queue. The increase in freelancing and online work websites makes it more convenient for people to work from home, allowing them to create their own schedule in which to work by. The development of more advanced tablets makes it possible to contain a whole range of content from music to office documents in your pocket. However, despite these host of advantages, there are many negative effects due to the increase in screens. One of the most prevalent is screen addiction.

As a 22-year old student, I find a large majority of my time is spent in front of screens. Some of this can be attributed to my own obsession with films and video games but a portion can also be linked to both my university and working life. A large percentage of material for my course is stored online on the university website, including emails and resources. As a Creative Writing student my working side isn’t much better as the majority of my job opportunities revolve around freelancing websites and paid online work. Both these services are extremely helpful and go their way to making my life easier but the downside is that I tend to find myself sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time.

Being a child of the 90s I remember what it used to be like amusing myself for hours on end with a stick in the park. Not having as many screen related distractions as there are today, I can appreciate the importance of reading, walking and playing instruments. I’m not claiming that kids today don’t know how to do these things but I think it is important to consider that because we live in a world where screens are in commodity, many children do not realize that using technology can be damaging for their health. Many people will highlight that it is the parent’s responsibility to regulate their children’s screen time and I couldn’t agree more. The other day I was horrified to discover two five year olds playing board games on their Kindle Fire HD’s instead of having the actual board out in front of them.

It is impressive that in our day and age one is able to download an app which provides you with all the materials you need to draw a picture or an app that lets you use a virtual drum kit. However, it concerns me that many individuals will focus all their time and energy on these as opposed to picking up a real guitar or a pencil and learning the skill properly.

A key thing to remember and I feel can sometimes be overlooked in our age of social networking and online community is the importance of human interaction. It is all very well if you can eloquently charm an employee over the web or chat at ease with a friend over Facebook without the fear of your body language and facial expressions being studied.  But at the end of the day if you want to land your self a job, at some point down the line you will have to use your body language, social skills and personality during the interview process. The same goes for making friends. It is all very well being friends online and seeing their interests and occasionally shooting the breeze but you will never truly get to know someone unless you meet them face to face. Call me old fashioned but I still struggle talking on the phone to people, as I find it hard to read people without having them sitting there in front of me.

The leaps in technology we have made have brought around many useful and innovative designs to help us in our day to day lives. However it is important to address that the more advances we make in technology, the more our lives will become dependent on using and interacting with screens. As we move further into the future, it is important to make an effort to look back into the past and remember alternative tools that can be used for the same purpose. By doing this we will lower the chances of eye strain and becoming unhealthly. It will also force us to use more inventive and obscure ways to solving problems and producing work.

© [Daniel Ashby] and [Ashby Tales], [2014]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Daniel Ashby] and [Ashby Tales] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.