I got in my car this morning, as I do every morning, fired up the engine, ensured my heated seats were on and switched the radio station to Kiss FM. It’s my morning routine, this and systematically checking my phone at every red light along the way. I’m not sure what exactly I’m checking for to be honest. What could possibly be that urgent? It only takes me 20 minutes to get to work and I have checked my phone numerous times before I even left the house. But regardless of this I look at my phone at least five times during my short journey to work each morning.
I’ve never really thought about it before, but this morning Kiss FM gave out a startling statistic that has been playing on my mind all morning. We now spend a staggering 60 hours each week staring at screens; whether that is our phones, tablets or TV’s. As a nation we are racking up more than a working weeks’ worth of screen time and it isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
Sixty hours?! How do we even have the time for that? I know that in my own life there are plenty of activities that I put off daily due to lack of ‘time’. But the facts don’t lie and the realisation that I could in fact be wasting a great deal of my life gazing blankly at a computerised screen has suddenly hit home.
My job sees me sat behind a laptop all day; I’m a writer and I also manage numerous social media accounts as part of my job which means my phone is never far from my grasp. I’m constantly signing in and out of social platforms, checking the latest news and trends, before clocking up some serious screen time writing up content for my clients. After my day job is finished I head home and the first thing I do is check my own personal social sites, I reply to emails and missed messages and scroll through Instagram all from the tiny lit screen of my Samsung Galaxy.
I cook dinner, usually following a recipe I have found online, I Internet shop and chat to my friend, all virtually of course and then in the evening I collapse onto the sofa ready to catch up on my TV programmes. By this point I have a tension headache that looms in my temples and find myself having to squint to get a clear picture of the screen.
Eleven o’clock soon rolls around and it’s time for bed. The hours have just slipped away in a LED blur. I haven’t had a chance to read that book that’s been on my coffee table for a good fortnight, I haven’t worked out as I promised myself I would and my laundry basket is still spilling over and so I head to bed telling myself tomorrow I’ll find time.
This morning I realised something, that while I’m grateful we live in a world where so much technology exists, I should also fear the dangers it poses to my life. I’m not taking cyber dangers or anything ethical, I’m talking the danger that if I carry on the way I am, constantly logged in and switched on that one day I just might blink and miss my life and all I will have to show for it is a few redundant Instagram snaps.