Wherever I go these days I see people’s attention glued to some sort of device – a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, headphones. It has become an epidemic. It also compromises safety at times – how many people do you see talking or texting on a phone while driving, or wearing headphones while cycling (and therefore unable to hear other traffic as well). Some have even been killed or injured because they were so absorbed in some message or video that they stepped off a curb without checking to see if a car is coming.
And then there is that other scenario – a couple romantically sitting together over dinner, except that the conversation isn’t with each other, it’s with friends on Facebook or Twitter. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen similar disconnection between human beings who are physically in the same space yet not actually communicating with that good old-fashioned medium called conversation.
Now, I’m certainly not against anything with Wi-Fi. In fact at home I am as glued to my screen as a lot of people. But when I’m out and about I like to actually be with the person I’m with and have a proper one-to-one chat – or I like to just hear the natural sounds around me. I just wish that those who prefer screen time instead of actual face-to-face time (and I don’t necessarily mean on Skype!) would just, now and again, take their fingers from their keyboards, take out their earphones and experience real life, here and now, with every sense.
Rant over. But I’m not done just yet. As I just mentioned, I am also as guilty at wasting time on Facebook and other social media as those above. Just because my time-wasting is restricted to home doesn’t mean I am any less guilty for allowing it to take over my life. I like to catch up with friends and announce things I am doing, sure … nothing wrong with that. But do I also really need to see cute cat videos, get involved in pointless discussions/arguments or play games? Erm… no. That is time I could be using creating stuff, writing, being in my garden. So, from the end of this A-Z, I am promising myself that I will spend much less time attached to my computer (unless writing of course) – and I will make sure that any time I do spend online is, mostly, productive. There will be allowed ‘play times’ of course, but only when work is done.
Time and life are like money – they get spent. Only thing is, are you spending them on things that matter?