I’m staring at a screen right
It’s a tool. I’m using it to
express myself. But not long ago (actually a few minutes) I was using this tool
to look at stuff I don’t need or care about. Yes, I spend too much time online.
It doesn’t get much better at
work either. My company, Back40 Design, creates engaging online experiences. Or
simply said—we make websites. We’ve been doing this for the past 12 years and
business is good. There’s no sign of the web slowing down. But I can shut it
off. It’s a choice I don’t make often enough.
Yes, there are times when being
“available by phone” is important. If you have kids or parents that need you in
an emergency, it’s indispensable. But, as I see it, everything below that is up
for debate. Lately, I’ve been more conscious of the time I spend, head tilted
downward, staring at my phone. It’s staggering. Here are some examples of the
I walked several blocks the
other night in the dark staring at my phone. My dog was there to guide me (who’s
walking who?). I was technically spending time with my dog, but in reality,
Apple’s falling stock prices had the lion’s share of my attention.
I was riding motorcycles in
Arkansas last month (you know the warm weekend we had in February) and I was
zipping along with my helmet bluetoothed to my phone and I took a call from my
dentist’s office. Wow, I’m glad they could reach me. I need to unplug more.
My wife and I were out to dinner
earlier this week. When she excused herself for a few minutes, I began an inner
struggle to look—or not look—at my phone. It took a few minutes, but the phone
won. This time.
Okay, maybe this is a bit
dramatic, but I know I will regret the hours I spend surfing Craigslist, CNN
and Slate instead of engaging. My granddaughter. My daughter. My wife. Others.
Anyone. And this is why I am struggling to mitigate my screen-centered life.
I drew the cartoon below to
illustrate what we might look like in generations to come. Hopefully not. I’m
closing my laptop now and taking the dog for a walk without my phone.