Just think about this headline for a second (recognizing that you are in front of a screen reading it): Most Adults Spend More Time on Their Digital Devices Than They Think. Or this one from 2014: Britons spend more time on tech than asleep, study suggests.
The statistics are staggering yet relatable. The 2014 article maintains that over 50% of the average waking day is spent in front of a screen. This number is probably even higher today, for every year it seems there is a new device added to your daily life, whether it be an Apple watch, or an animate advertising display on the metro.
Most of our working days and leisure time is spent in front of some kind of electronic visual display. The psychological and physical burden of this phenomenon has yet to be fully examined. I was able to find reports which suggest that spending all of this time in front of screens can negatively affect our eyesight, as well as hinder a child’s ability to learn emotional and nonverbal cues.
It begs the question, how much of our actual day consists in our interaction with the physical and social space around us? As technology continues to develop, and more mediums of virtual communication and reality are introduced, what role will this have on our well-being?
What concerns me most is the addictive quality of this constant stream of simulated stimulation. The desire to perpetually consume information that pops up on a screen in a bright endorphin inducing color, manifests into a discomfort with prolonged silence and thought.
I sometimes envision what it would be like to have lived a couple hundred years ago, when we did not have the constant stream of alerts, notifications, and breaking news headlines. When you did not instantly know if someone ‘read’ what you sent to them, and you had time to meticulously write and respond. Or am I just romanticizing the past?