I'm turning into a zombie, and so are you. Probably.
Last night I was babysitting my nieces. Because my sister and her husband are very strict when it comes to limiting time spent in front of screens (be it TV, iPad, smartphone) when they’re at home, they tend to give the girls a bit more freedom on the odd night they go out. Both as a treat for the kids and to give the babysitter a break, bless them.
Even so, when I look after them, they prefer playing and horsing around to watching TV. I don’t know if this is because of my sister’s excellent parenting skills, or my excellent aunting skills or their excellent childing skills, but when I come over they want to do everything but watch TV.
Awesome right? Until...
“Orange Lili, why do you keep looking at your phone?”
There I was, spending time with two of the most precious little things in my world, and what was I doing? Checking my Facebook feed. Not cool, dude.
In my defence, the latest studies show how the frightening amount of time spent staring at screens effectively causes something akin to brain damage. Apparently our brains go into a little loop in the frontal cortex and those neural pathways get very well developed while the rest of the brain, particularly the hippocampus, suffers.
So eventually we do a lot of things mechanically, because we are literally behaving like addicts. Of course no one knows EXACTLY what is happening, and what will happen to our brains, as scientific studies are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate that tech is advancing.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not a hater of tech. I know it’s not viable to chuck my phone and stay off the internet and start making my own shoes…
But I also know it’s equally unviable to allow mobile devices to take over my life to such an extent that I can’t hang out with my nieces, without interruption, for a couple of hours.
We need to fight hard to find that balance. On the one hand, we have the leaders in cognitive science working round the clock to make media more engaging, more entertaining, and more addictive. Everything from advertisements to social media, to freaking Candy Crush is geared at taking over your mindspace.
On the other hand, we have this little thing called real life.
If we don’t draw boundaries, no one will. And I’m not naïve enough to think that the people vying for our attention are doing so with our best interests at heart.
So, tonight I’m going to switch off my phone, get my leather toolkit together, and start looking into making shoes.