Digital immersion and screen media time (SMT) is a problem.
It is estimated that the average person today consumes nearly three times as much information as the average person in 1960. It’s little wonder either as our lives are drenched in the stuff via various devices. From having no Apps in your life – we now have millions of ’em.
We seem to be obsessed with technology and the focus tends to be on children much of the time.
Do they spend too much time on their devices? Are they addicted? How would you even know?
National Online Safety have produced a handy graphic to help and this is useful – but it could equally apply to adults too. How many adults would you say are permanently pecking away on a piece of plastic?
Remember, their guide is just that..a guide and isn’t definitive.
You can compare this to another graphic such as the following:
Arguably, screen addiction is refashioning the way we think and not in a good sense because it is impacting on who we are; we are losing depth of thought and feeling and we are losing the depth in our relationships.
But wait, when we say “How much screen time is too much?” – are we actually asking the wrong question?
Domoff et al (2017) argue that it is how children use devices, not how much time they spend on them that is the strongest predictor of emotional or social problems connected with screen addiction. She said,
Typically, researchers and clinicians quantify or consider the amount of screen time as of paramount importance in determining what is normal or not normal or healthy or unhealthy. Our study has demonstrated that there is more to it than number of hours. What matters most is whether screen use causes problems in other areas of life or has become an all-consuming activity.
This has been tragically illustrated by the student gamer who hanged himself because he was isolated and depressed by life split from reality.
If our screen time starts to get in the way of our daily activities then yes, we have a problem. If it is causing us to have arguments or drop out of relationships then of course it’s a problem. As Hunter et al (2017) say,
Specifically, screen use may be most problematic when it is an activity that an individual is overly reliant upon, especially if that over-reliance involves the use of screens to cope with problems they are facing.