We spend a substantial amount of time gazing into our screens. And it’s not just the television; we spend countless hours absorbing information on our phones, tablets, laptops, and even e-readers.


Did you know that the average person spends just under 7 hours a day consuming media via screen? Of course a lot of that consumption is due to work and educational obligations. Nevertheless, we can’t ignore a simple fact: daily, near-constant multi-screen interaction is ubiquitous.


Hello Digital!


In many ways, we’ve moved from a brick-and-mortar, paper-loving, tactile society to a digital one. More and more, teachers assign readings from online sources. People are becoming more inclined to shop online instead of running to a mall or department store. And often we experience “real life” moment and feel the need to share them.


Sure, sometimes our compulsion to project our lives outward can devolve into narcissism. However, some studies suggest that social media use can actually lead to increased productivity, expand our social circles, and make us more empathetic towards others. Those are all wonderful attributes. So sure, we spend a ton of our time peering into screens. However, we’re listening and interacting with each other more than ever!


Using Multiple Devices at Once


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been watching a TV program while simultaneously checking Twitter, texting a friend, or checking my email. Reaching for my smartphone has become an instinctive habit. And when I forget it at home, I’m struck with moderate anxiety.

I’m old enough to remember the days before cell phones and tablets, so why do I feel antsy without my devices?


Partially, I think my nervousness stems from a desire to be productive. I do want to watch a movie, but I also want to check up on my friends, make sure I haven’t missed any work deadlines, and read the news! It’s hard to devote two hours to watching a film when there is so much to be done!


Many bloggers and comedians have made a living Tweeting about the things they’re consuming on TV and the internet. So this trend is not only common but lucrative for taste makers, critics, and artists!


Keeping Calm in a World of Screens


As mentioned above, all this screen use translates to some major benefits for society as a whole. However, experts still believe it’s important to take a break every once in awhile and look outside the box.. errrr… screen!


One great way to do this is to devise a “no-device” time for friends, family, and even yourself. Before dinner, place phones in a bowl on the counter and declare that nobody can check them until after everyone’s finished. Or throw a dinner party and playfully inform guests that you’ve prepared “device free” meal! This way, you’re all forced to really look at and cherish the people you love most. And if you’re in need of some screen-free alone time, consider going on a walk and checking your smartphone only in case of an emergency.


Hey… it’s okay!


Finally, don’t beat yourself up! If you often find yourself glued to your screen, it simply means you have a deep desire to seek out information, interact with peers, and inform yourself about what’s going on in the world. Those are all the marks of a highly sensitive, social, productive person! So be happy that you care, achieve balance when you can, and stop worrying about the rest!