Social media is not addictive for me, thank goodness because I think social media has become the scourge of the earth.
What little redeeming value it has (a means of free enterprise) is completely overshadowed and swallowed up by all the damage people cause by using it.
I have come loath Facebook, I don’t understand Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat and for me the jury’s still out on “live” broadcasts.
For every serious and valuable “serial Youtuber,” there are 100 ridiculous ones that are filling our time with absolute nonsense. Least you say that it is all “harmless,” I see the damage it has done to students as they first come to our institution.
And the statistics are overwhelming:
Today there are 207 million active Facebook users in America[i] (that’s 60% of our entire population and that number is projected to rise to 220 million by 2022) spending more than an hour a day on Facebook[ii].
But if you factor in all online activities (Instagram – 106 million[iii], Snapchat – 77 million,[iv] all gaming, all Youtube and Netflix viewing and other online videos, etc) the percentage sky rockets to almost 25% of our awake time.
This does not include texting, and playing games on our smart phones. For the average American over the age of 16, that can be as much as five hours a day, every day–for some people that is essentially as much as 35 hours of entertainment every single week.
Are we really spending 5 hours of a 16-hour conscious period every 24 hours being entertained? This is all time wherein we are distracted from our loved ones, our community, and our social and civic responsibilities.
Time that could be spend improving ourselves or improving our financial situation by starting a business or increasing our skill sets to qualify for more responsibility and a higher income.
How do we not see that this is a monumental waste of our national resource of labor, not to mention a decline of our national character?
We are so far removed from reality that we even believe that we can get a sense of the plight of the third world farmer through playing a video game!
No–I don’t suffer from the very common addiction of social media, I am controlled by the cell phone as a mere communication device.
I have been carrying that damned little box around 24/7 for 15 years and I am sick of it controlling my life.
I don’t play video games or use apps for anything, but I am constantly expecting or hoping for a text, call, email, or messenger message and I am declaring here and now that my life of communication slavery is over.
I spent the first 40 years of my life surviving just fine without a communication device strapped to my belt, affixed to my ear, or ear buds dangling from my head.
Aside from all of the new research surfacing about cell phone radiation, I just want to feel in charge of my life again. I think my wife is a little troubled that she won’t be able to reach me.
But she couldn’t reached by cell phone during the 18 months we were dating–true 1/2 of that time I was submerged in the Atlantic Ocean in a submarine– but that just makes my point, our relationship survived.
We did not have cell phones for the first 20 years of our marriage and some how we have stayed together. Growing up, telephonic communication was a privilege, especially long distance, and as it happened so infrequently, we weren’t even sure what to say when we had the chance.
In the old days you more than half expected to leave a message and then get the response by a left message in return. Now if you don’t answer a call or a text immediately, you are the epitome of rudeness . . . or have been in an accident, or some terrible calamity has overtaken you . . . all because you have not respond in the 5 seconds since the message or call was sent.
I am beginning to wonder if all this instant communication isn’t causing our cerebral decision making centers to atrophy. Before cell phones, we had to rely a lot more on our own powers of discernment to get things done, now we call or even facetime someone non-stop because we are not confident enough to make a decision.
At one time I had some 20 or 30 phone numbers in my head, now I don’t even know my own wife’s number. And don’t get me started about using maps; I pull out a paper road map and everyone under 40 reacts like it is written in Hebrew.
So I have decided to leave the phone at home. If I do take it as a security measure, I turn it off. I have been unplugged from the phone for about 2 weeks and for the first week, I really felt naked.
Now I am beginning to feel free and at peace. I still check for calls, texts, and emails twice a day (down from 100 times a day) so if you call, message or send an email, I will get it, but it might be 12 to 24 hours before I get back to you.
I am not being rude, I am just living.