This week, I spent an average of 42 minutes a day on my phone. My top five apps were texting, my calendar, email, music, and reading the news.
Did you notice? No social media in there.
I’m using my phone as a communication device, as in one-on-one communications with people I know, almost like (hold your breath) an old-fashioned telephone. I am not consuming junk targeted to me by an algorithm developed by companies that are politically biased. By talking only to real people with whom I have a relationship, I am not being subjected to bots, idiots, influencers, advertisements, fake news, misinformation, and other foolishness that other folks spend hours mindlessly consuming.
Along these same lines, I also don’t watch network TV. I rarely see an advertisement. Even billboards are scarce out here in the hinterlands.
Unless it’s raining, I spend at least 90 minutes outdoors, often three or four hours. Sometimes six or eight. You know, in the wild, with birds, flowers, and blue skies. I see the moon at night and see the seasons change bit by bit. Being outdoors is supposed to make you healthier, happier, lower blood pressure, and make you live longer.
My vices are Sunday NFL games during football season and YouTube videos after dinner. I often nap while YouTube videos of people cutting firewood or living on homesteads cycle through in the background. On YouTube, I try to watch educational and how-to content and find it to be a good source of Second Amendment news. I avoid YouTube shorts, which are a colossal waste of time.
I usually read for an hour or more a day. Yes, books. The old-fashioned kind printed on paper, not eBooks.
The storms and high winds that covered much of the Eastern half of the country yhis weekend knocked our power out for more than eight hours. It gave me a long, un-interrupted chunk of time to read a book.
I read an old Robert Ludlum book published more than 30 years ago which I picked it up in a used bookstore for $3. It was so old, I figured I wouldn’t remember the plot twists. Turns out, it was one of his books I had never read. The funniest thing was, it was written so long ago the Soviets were our enemies and the main character spent quite a bit of time in Moscow as a spy.
Coming a day or so after Russia arrested a Wall Street Journal reporter for spying, the book felt contemporary. I couldn’t help thinking “what goes around comes around.” Just proves that everything that is old becomes new again. Despite the fact no one in the book had cell phones and the Soviet Union is gone, the novel held up well. Proof that Russia has indeed returned to its old ways.
I can only hope the spies we have in real life are as good as the ones Ludlum dreams up.
Social Media is a Drug
Have you heard of people who are returning to flip phones to cut back on their social media use? Not a bad suggestion. Social Media addiction is like a drug; it zombifies your brain and results in fewer real, lasting relationships. If you can’t set down your phone, if you just have to swipe or scroll on to the next video, maybe you need to replace your iPhone or Android with a flip phone.
Or, just delete the apps. Can you do it?
How many parents do you see with their eyes glued to the screen, ignoring their kids? That’s not healthy. And then their kids get their own screen and we wonder why they can never look away.
Break the social media habit. Even more important, keep your kids off social media. The best way to do that is to not let them start. (For added safety, don’t post pictures of your kids online.) Many kids with parents in the tech industry are not allowed to have phones. Hmm. What do you think they know?
If your kids need a tablet or computer for school, put it in the living room or the dining room where it is easy to monitor. Set up your router to block domains and IP addresses you don’t want them to visit. Growing up, our phone was on the wall in the kitchen and had a 20-foot cord. Hard to be sneaky when your parents were in the next room. I’m not suggesting you revert to a corded phone, but don’t let your kids have phone access 24×7 and monitor what they do on it.
Cut the Ties of Technology
This is another advantage of living in the country, where cell signals are intermittent and it remains safe to tell your kids “go outside and play.” We need more kids raised on books and the great outdoors who experience the world first hand rather than seeing it through a 3”x6” screen. Take your for a walk. Go to a park and push them on the swings. Play in a stream. Pick strawberries. Raise chickens and let them gather the eggs. Plant a garden with them. If you live in an urban area, go to the zoo. Visit a sculpture garden. Spend the day at a museum. break away from the screen. Don’t cave in to the brainwashing. Be a survivor rather than a zombie.
In other words, be present. Multitask less. Focus more. And focus on what’s important.
Trust me, it’s not the newest TikTok dance video.
Excellent piece.. thanks
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