The seasons are flying by as the bullshit of 2020 persists. The past few months I have found myself glued to social media. At first, I didn’t think much of it. My business has slowed down due to the current events and I have extra time on my hands. It seemed normal enough. One afternoon, around 5PM, my screen time notification went off and instead of swiping it up and away, I looked. It said 11 hours.
I will not lie, this made me very concerned and even a little nauseous. How was I on my phone for 11 hours in one day? Almost all my waking hours? I started thinking of what I do from start to finish in a 24 hour period. Wake up, have coffee, scroll. Walk the dog and scroll. I scroll in the bathroom. Watching TV, scroll. Lay in bed, scroll. Clearly, I have a problem. Or do I?
New York has been on lock down since March 2020. It started with staying home, then eased up through the seasons. However, life is still quiet. Businesses are still closed. Some people are still too worried to resume normal social activities. The kids are not following a normal school schedule and there has been no regular gatherings from students’ sports events. What I am missing so desperately is the bustle of my social life. This is where the ceaseless scrolling comes in.
Sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok provide constant connection with other people. Conversations, comments and even arguments are welcome to combat the lack of person to person contact. This year has proven to be difficult in so many ways and isolation only amplifies the challenges we face. Currently, the imperfect world of social media is the only outlet that is steadily allowing human connection and that is better than no connecting at all. According to chief medical officer for behavioral health at Cigna, Douglas Nemecek, MD states “loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day…” (1)
Too much screen time does have its consequences, this we know. Since seeing the shocking “11 hours”, I have minimized my scrolling. I have also started some home projects to keep my scrolling fingers busy.
If we were living in 2019, I am certain I would be much less of a scroller. But these are unprecedented times and we must allow ourselves grace and leniency. We are, after all, surviving a pandemic.
(1) Loneliness Rivals Obesity, Smoking as Health Risk by Nick Tate