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How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

Surviving Screens In Isolation

There are many people self-isolating due to the escalating pandemic, with their phones being the essential link to the outside world. Technology becomes a double-edged sword, connecting and isolating us at the same time, leading to anxiety-related disorders, and extremely short attention spans.

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How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

https://www.gq.com/story/cal-newport-screen-time-coronavirus

gq.com

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Key Ideas

Surviving Screens In Isolation

There are many people self-isolating due to the escalating pandemic, with their phones being the essential link to the outside world. Technology becomes a double-edged sword, connecting and isolating us at the same time, leading to anxiety-related disorders, and extremely short attention spans.

The Distraction Spiral

Technology, just like the mind, is a very good slave, but a bad master. The technologies by itself are life-giving and useful, but if we are spending the whole day on Twitter, fighting with whoever we don’t agree with, we are ruining our psychological health.

We tend to spiral into the news black hole for hours, but just looking at the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post once or twice a day should be enough.

Accidental Benefits Of Technology

Technology is neutral by itself, and how we use that tool matters. 

  • An email is a great tool, which completely transformed how an office works, though it wasn’t designed for offices.
  • Similarly, the Facebook Like button was designed as a shortcut to writing a good comment, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a tool to measure the popularity of a post.

Solitude In The Age Of Distraction

Spending time alone with your thoughts is extremely crucial, but is increasingly difficult. When you sit with yourself and understand your thought stream you structure your experiences and create a ‘bridge’ of your life and where you want to go.

Without spending solitary time with ourselves we are just adrift with where pop culture, media, and the attention economy takes us.

Readymade Feelings

One of the hidden dangers of technology is how your complex thoughts can be distilled and shortened into an emoji (like a heart or a thumbs up).

Most people, especially youngsters, are not being articulate with their feelings when they have readymade shortcuts to convey their emotions.

Speed Isn't Always Good

There is a misguided notion that speed and efficiency are inherently better. For a few things, fast is fine (like a faster dish cleaner). Being exposed to information in a faster way isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Example: Replying to emails faster and quicker isn’t really optimizing the work, and only increases the pseudo-work in the long run.

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