Power Off Your Phone and Power On Your Brain
By: Emily J. Degen
94. That is the average number we American’s text per day, according to textrequest.com. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I know plenty of people that probably send many, many more than that!
33 minutes per day. If you have Facebook, that is how much time you might spend on it each day.[i]Instagram users, you’re looking at about 29 minutes[ii], TikTok junkies, 52 minutes[iii]. Snapchat reports show about 30 minutes[iv] for their users and, YouTube, coming in at a minimum of 40 minutes of your time…. every day.[v]
Keep in mind, the above time spent on these social media platforms do not include Twitter and many other popular sites. So… if you just happen to be a part of all of those listed, you could be spending at least 3 hours of your time every day doing, whatever it is you do, on them. THREE HOURS! By the way, that 3 hours has nothing to do with your text messages.
How often do you get an invite to a party via snail mail? Handwritten letter? Maybe because these days, most American households get approximately 10 pieces of “fun” mail each year, says nytimes.com. If you think about this, you’re probably getting most of these in December, am I right? Now think about the last time you went out with friends, and you all left your cell phones at home to enjoy some real conversation. When was that? I’m going to guess never.
So, what is so difficult about putting our phones away, or just letting the battery die already so we can have a break? Are we that addicted? Are we so blindly unaware of some of the harmful effects these phones and social media can have on us?
For myself, there are times when I have to stretch my neck and blink my eyes a few extra times not realizing how long my face was buried in my phone at that uncomfortable angle. What’s more frightening? A mental health study done by scientists are revealing how all this cell phone and social media use can disrupt our sleep patterns, affect our reaction time, and even result in changes to our brains activity![vi]
Sure, it can be fun to share pictures and re-connect with people from your past. Get a good laugh from that crazy cat video. . . but the scariest part about social media is what it’s doing to us. How did we let it get to this point and is it too late to turn back? What is happening to our society? Our youth? Our nation? The negativity, the awful exposure to false claims, misinformation, manipulation and worse. What will this all result in? Is this threatening our well-being?
I challenge you to shut it off. Power down your phone and power on your brain. Find some peace in reading a book, going for a walk or, heck, you could even write a letter.