I realize that people of all ages are constantly opining about the trappings of technology, while, (ironically), usually typing on a keypad and/or staring at a screen. Let’s be real, you’re reading this on such technology. Just because people are hypocrites, it doesn’t mean that they are also wrong.
To be clear, I love technology and believe, on a whole, this is an amazing time to be alive vis a vis innovation. More information and access is always a better thing, even when it exposes how stupid and dangerous a society is. The truth is, though, that we can’t, individually fix this rotten cultural cesspool we live in, but we can do some high-quality maintenance on ourselves.
Countless studies show time after time, the dangers of screen time. Did you know there’s even a name for it (of course there is, everything has a title…) it’s called Screen Dependency Disorder, which is a stupid name because it doesn’t create an effective acronym. Obviously, Screen Addiction Disorder would have been perfect, but SAD was already taken by the totally fake and made-up Seasonal Affective Disorder, the condition of being depressed because of the change of seasons…pro-tip…fly somewhere, the weather will be different, dipstick. But, seriously, SDD? That’s way too close to STD and it discourages people from walking around and sharing their struggles as no one wants to loudly and proudly shout “I have SDD,” lest they see countless people nervously fidget and sidle away from them. https://www.premierhealth.com/your-health/articles/health-topics/screen-addiction-affects-physical-and-mental-health
There’s also Internet Addiction Disorder, which, when acronymed (not a word), sounds like something a terrorist uses to blow people up. Why couldn’t they call it Compulsive Overuse of Computer Complex…y’know, COCC! Or, Tons of Internet Time, TIT for short. Either way, it’s a real thing…unlike Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a nice way of saying you have weak forearms, or Fibromyalgia, which is the medical industry’s way of saying “we have no idea what’s wrong with you, so we’ve decided it’s all in your head and we’ve got a big, long, vowel-filled word to describe it…here’s you’re prescription for a ton of anti-depressants.” https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html
I’m no fan of making everything a disease, syndrome, addiction, ailment, disorder, or malady, but in the case of screen time, we are absolutely hooked…and the whole thing is designed that way! Silicon Valley was outed years ago by the very people who created Social Media…they said the quiet part out loud and admitted that the entire system is literally engineered to essentially alter your brain chemically into NEEDING more and more screen time. https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/facebook-twitter-are-designed-to-be-like-behavioural-cocaine-for-users-insiders/
I’m certainly not suggesting that the answer to any of this is a complete and total abandonment of technology; that’s as asinine as asking a normal American living a normal life to not own a car; maybe more so. I am, however, suggesting that maybe we all could approach technology the same way we should approach food and alcohol…after all, we have a stellar track record in America when it comes to our eating and drinking habits! Wait a minute…well, I’m too far in at this point to think of another topic and start over, so I’m plowing through on my idea and suggesting that it’s time to implement Operation SLIME…Slowly Learn Internet Moderation Exercise. No? Ok, how about LIME; Less Internet More Everything-else? Do we have to go with LIMEE? That sounds so un-American.
In any case, the keyword was moderation. Almost everything in life should be done in moderation. If we do anything all of the time, it is simply too much, and it’s also ruined. Yes, even the good stuff…that’s how we got Sex and Porn Addiction for God’s sake! According to data, the average American spends 7 hours and 11 minutes looking at a screen every day…that’s more time than we spend sleeping! What in the hell is wrong with us? https://www.comparitech.com/tv-streaming/screen-time-statistics/#:~:text=According%20to%20data%20from%20DataReportal,of%20screen%20time%20per%20day.
I realize that our phones, tablets, and laptops are filled with endless wonder, but so are our brains, homes, and the people around us. And again, I’m not a technology Nazi, nor am I proposing some stupid, unattainable goal like “cut your screen time in half by 2022.” I always advise people to start small and easy, and if you like it and feel comfortable, keep the trend going. There’s a reason Alcoholics anonymous has a 5% rate of success…advising people to quit something they’re addicted to is asinine and almost unachievable. Teaching them to slowly cut down on their vice of choice, like the HAMS alcohol reduction system does, produces a success rate 10 times that of going cold turkey. https://www.npr.org/2014/03/23/291405829/with-sobering-science-doctor-debunks-12-step-recovery
So, I propose we start with your poop. Long ago, before we had devices in our pockets that were a gateway to the world, people used to sit on the toilet with their thoughts. Oh, sure, along the way a few simpletons added in magazines or newspapers while they were on the crapper, but we all know they weren’t really reading whatever they were looking at… they were contemplating their lives, as they should. For one thing, I’ve never understood why taking a crap needed to be an event…sit down, poop, wipe, leave. Other than hiding from your kids, there is no reason to spend more than 3 minutes going doo-doo, plus, it’s physically bad for you. There’s a reason I’m the only person I know who has never had hemorrhoids…sitting too long on the toilet is the number one cause of such! Plus, a dude’s rectum fell out a couple of years ago because he spent too long on the crapper!… But I digress. https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/content/story/sitting-toilet-long-will-wreck-butt
Imagine, just for a moment, sitting on the toilet, doing nothing. No scrolling, clicking, or messaging. Just you and your brain. I realize that this is terrifying for many people, mainly because they spend their entire lives trying to avoid introspection, but that’s all part of our societal problems as well. Taking inventory of your day, your relationships, and even your life, is a good thing, and there’s no better place than the toilet. Your friends can wait a few minutes, as can your social media, your calendar, and even your Amazon order of the day (which reminds me that I need to order dog food…but not while I’m sitting on the toilet!
If you happen to be one of those sociopaths who insists on being on the crapper for 15 minutes or more, then again, I advise you to start small. Take that handy little device into the bathroom with you and set its’ timer for 5 minutes, then put it down and wait…and while you do, contemplate your life, while looking forward to the reward of submerging yourself back into the toxic world that awaits you on the other end of that fine piece of electronics as soon as it reaches :00 and makes that hideous sound most of us equate to being awoken from a deep slumber.
I promise you that this could be a life-altering event. By not being distracted by endless choices, you may learn a little something about yourself. You may even come to realize that your compulsion to sit in the bathroom for an unhealthy amount of time is both dangerous and disgusting. Either way, resolve today that you will turn your poo time into “you” time. You’re welcome.