Monitoring Screen Time

After the technology companies invested so much time, energy and money into getting us all addicted to our gadgets and devices, now we’re all getting the message power down once in a while. That too much screen time is bad for us along with lots of suggestions for ways we can reduce our usage. Of course many of the recommendations come in the form of apps (i.e., more technology) to help limit our tech consumption.

Each week I receive a ping on my iPad giving me a weekly update of my screen time and the percentage it increased/decreased from the week before. I don’t recall signing up for these notifications, they just started to appear. I suppose this is the Apple’s way of helping me be more aware of how hooked I am on their product.

My challenge with all these notifications is sorting out the ways in which screen time is something addictive vs. something that is now just part of my daily life. For example, it’s common for me to call friends and family with video. That counts as screen time, but I wouldn’t classify it as addictive “screen” behavior. Nor would I want to go back to regular calling when my experience is enhanced with video. I rarely get to visit people who live far away, so it’s nice to be able to see them.

Digital photography is another way that screen time is unavoidable, unless I decide to never take any more photos. It’s not even possible to take photos without viewing a screen or some kind. I love making photo albums of my trips which I get printed. So while I can view the albums without a monitor, the creation of the album is screen time intensive.

I often read the newspaper on my smartphone, yet another way I engage with a monitor daily. I prefer it over the print version. Reading physical newspapers left my fingertips darkened with ink and it was challenging to fold the paper the right way to read while on transit. Also, it was annoying to flip through sections when an article continued on another page. So while I could reduce screen time by reading a printed newspaper, I prefer the electronic version.

I know I’m addicted in some ways, but a notification of my screen time without a breakdown is useless as a measure.

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