This may sound a little odd coming from a blogger, direct from my keyboard tapping fingers to your flashing screen, but I’ve been considering the negative effects of too much screen time recently. I know, I know. ‘Stop press!’ I’m not the first to be concerned by this but I never claimed to be unique. We’re all unique and we’re all Every(wo)man, in my humble opinion.
The internet has transformed my life. And mostly in a good way. It facilitates my entire lifestyle. I literally could not live where I do now (in a remote mountain village in northern Spain) were it not for the internet. My partner and I both work remotely, online. That’s how we can live here and still support ourselves. Socially, it means we can stay in touch with friends and family despite our geographical distance. Skype (whilst endlessly frustrating!) is a godsend. Recreationally, the internet lets us watch films and television in our own language and from our culture and allows us to buy English language books and have them delivered in an instant to our devices.
Quite simply the internet rocks.
But. The flip side is that I spend an awful lot of time sat in front of a computer screen. And when I’m not doing that I’m often clutching a smartphone or an ipad in my hand. The first thing I do in the morning is reach for my phone. In fairness, that’s actually so I can switch the alarm off. But then the very next thing I do is check my email and Facebook. Like there can be something there that I need to know right then, before I’ve even woken up, had a sip of tea, or got my son up and ready for school. It’s not like I’m going to be able to do anything about anything right in that moment. Other than worry or be distracted by them. The reason I check them can only be a delaying tactic, yet another procrastinating tool in my already extensive armoury. It cannot serve a positive end.
So, maybe I should just stop here. I have clearly identified one area where my use of the internet is unhealthy and unhelpful. Here is one simple change I can make to regain control of my internet use and to shove it firmly further back into the ‘purely positive’ section of my life.
The challenge: don’t check my social media and email first thing in the morning. Make it wait till I’m back from the school run and ready to start work proper. Simples. Let’s see how that goes for a week and then review. At which point I may be able to identify some other area where I have allowed my use of the internet to tip over into a negative force and I can add a new challenge.
How about you? Are you in control of your internet use? Anyone fancy joining me in my early morning ban on the internet?