Monday, September 19, 2016

Enforced Creativity

Gonna try to start forcing myself to do something creative in order to keep my brain active in a productive manner during downtime at work instead of trying to beat my high score at minesweeper again (150 seconds on expert, if you were wondering).

The idea of how much time I spend in front of a screen/device has been prevalent on my mind lately. Call it 7 hours a day of computer screens at work, 1 hour of video games, 2 hours of TV, 2 hours of Phone sandwiched somewhere in there and that's 12 out of 16-ish waking hours spent interacting with screens.

I had a conversation with a school teacher over the weekend and she chalked 'screen time' up as a main reason as to why her students read at a 4th grade level even though she's a 7th grade science teacher which got me to thinking about the subject. Although I consider myself to have above average intelligence (who doesn't consider that to be true though..), I do think that some aspects of my intelligence have been dulled by the constant checking of screens and interacting with these digital overlords of my everyday life. The sub-conscious desire to pull up my phone every 5 minutes, the fact that my phone is within 6 feet of my body about 22 hours a day, and the fact that the only thing that holds my attention for longer than 10 minutes at a time is a video game, which may only be because it requires my eyes, my ears and both hands.

Ask yourself the question, when is the last time you watched an entire movie on your couch at home without checking your phone throughout. I think that the multitasking that seems so benign to our existence drains our ability to have great conversations, to read good books, and to fully enjoy a single thing because we know that we can be partially enjoying 3 different things. I find myself sitting on the couch with an episode of some TV thing (what exactly it is, is besides the point) going, with my beautiful, intelligent wife sitting besides me and what am I doing? I'm on my phone bouncing between reddit and clash of clans mostly.

As with most things, I find myself questioning, is this behavior trend wrong? The sensory overload of phones, tv's, computers, video games and if possible 2 or 3 of those things at once is a new thing for mankind to be encountering, so there's not multiple generations of humans who've experienced this for any worthwhile conclusions to be made about this. But I think most people's gut instincts would say that it isn't optimal.

While saying this, I'm completely aware this is not an entirely original thought. Also, I don't mean to be alarmist as this is something like the 16,000th blog/article/op-ed about the topic spanning back to the time when newspapers on the trains took away from potential conversations back in WWII times. I'm more thinking about the impact on my life, my relationships, my personal health (both physical and mental). Currently, I'm thinking that this might call for an 'unplugged time', whether that means an hour a night, or a night a week or whatever. So that I can be less dependent on outside entertainment, definitely something to consider.

'Til next time

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