Screen Time

For those of us who live in NYC, and basically everybody everywhere at this point, it is very, very hard to escape the blue screens. I mean how many of us are guilty of being on our computer, in front of the TV, all while watching a funny clip on Instagram? I can’t be the only one, I know that. Screens have seemingly become apart of most of our everyday life. Screens do not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon and we need to learn how to live with them and how to stop them from disrupting certain aspects of our lives, such as sleep.

As I stated, I know I am guilty of using screens way too much, and I also know most of you are too. How do I know? Because every time I am online you are online too, sending me a bunch of hilarious fails, or posting, or commenting on somebody else's something. Media viewings, whether it is on YouTube, Facebook or television are often hitting millions of views and even billion of views. So someone is watching. You don’t have to admit it if you don’t want to but we both know.

It is known that we are supposed to stay away from these blue lights as we approach bedtime, iPhone even built in a nighttime mode in an effort to curb the adverse effects blue screens can have on our sleep. However, many of us still watch TV, send snaps of ourselves “sleeping”, scroll through Instagram or Twitter, check our emails, all from bed. Then wonder why we have trouble falling asleep or why when we wake up we don’t feel rested. This is not rocket science. Something to try doing is setting a prepare-for-bed time, setting an alarm to wake up, and placing our phone away from our beds. This way you curb the blue screen being an inch away from your face right before falling asleep and you force yourself to get up out of bed when the first alarm goes off instead of slamming the snooze button.

Now, how many times have you been having a conversation with a person and when you wait to hear what they have to say you get nailed with radio silence. You take your eyes off of the TV to discover that this person has the nerve to not be listening to a darn thing you just said and instead they are knee deep in their phone paying zero attention to you. WTF!?! Or how many times have you been out to eat with a group of friends and the table is silent for one second and somehow everyone managed to take their phones out because the thought of silence they just can’t even. Point is we can all use some time away from our phones. It is certainly taking away from the social experience.

Whether we are parents, kids, friends, colleagues, we all have a limited amount of time left to spend with those who we truly care about. Being present in the moment and actually giving those who you care about attentive time is invaluable. When I was recently in California, in a house full of friends that I do not get to see that often, my friend Shawn would yell at you if you were on your phone during social situations. I loved this even though I was scolded a few times. If you are a parent, talk with your kid/s, having actual conversations with them can go a long way. Gary Vaynerchuk harps on the quality of the time he spends with his kids not the quantity of time. I think this is brilliant when it comes to any relationship. Simply spending or giving time is better than nothing but being present during that time is a whole lot more valuable and precious. It’s hard to not seem disinterested when you are sitting across from someone not saying a thing with your head in your phone. Enjoy the company of others again and get comfortable with silence, not every moment has to be filled with noise.

I am 100% guilty of still doing a lot of these behaviors but the more aware I can become of them, the better job I can do to change the behavior which is partially why I wrote this. As a collective community let's start to slowly raise the quality of in-person social interactions and see the joy we bring to others lives as well as our own increase ten fold. Screens may be a huge part of our lives but they don’t need to take over our lives.

Post inspired by Shawn Tyler, Beth Kowaleski and Gary Vaynerchuk