Are You a Victim of Screen Sucking?

Are You a Victim of Screen Sucking-from Kathrynseppamaki.com

Have you ever experienced this? You sit down at the computer to quickly check your e-mail or Facebook and the next thing you know hours have passed and you simply have no idea where that time went. If you’ve ever experienced this, then you are a victim of screen sucking.

The term “screen sucking” was coined by Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of the book “CrazyBusy: Overworked, Overbooked and About to Snap!” who defines it as “Wasting time engaging with any screen – for instance, computer, video game, television and BlackBerry”. And anyone with a computer, television, tablet, video games or smart phones has experienced this phenomenon at some point in time. The sad part is that many people are losing precious, productive time in front of their computer by mindlessly browsing, spending far too much time on social media or even playing games (can you say Candy Crush, Flappy Bird or whatever the latest game fad of the day happens to be).

The result of wasting all of the extra time is that we suddenly find ourselves with far less time to accomplish the things that do need to get done throughout the day. This leads us to being stressed out, frazzled and overwhelmed. Not only does screen sucking cause us stress but it is also affecting our relationships and our ability to connect as humans. Have you ever been with a group of friends or family with an opportunity to talk….but everyone is busy on their smartphone or tablet?

Luckily, once you become aware that your time is being wasted, you can make changes that will allow you to focus on what is really important and become more productive and less stressed!

Here are a few things that you can do to avoid getting screen sucked!

  1. Schedule your time with technology and set limits for the length of time you spend checking email, surfing social media, reading online news, etc.  Avoid video games which are real time suckers! You can also set limits with your children as well. When you are strict with your screen time, you avoid wasting time and will get far more done. I have personally done this and it makes a huge difference in what I accomplish!
  2. Take a look at your priorities. Is spending 3 hours on Facebook or Pinterest each day really a goal that you have for your life? Or are there other things that are more important? When you are losing time because of the internet, TV or video games, what things in life are not getting done, and what experiences are you really missing out on? Taking some time to look at your priorities can really help to put things into perspective and help you to focus on doing things that are far more meaningful to your life!
  3. Take a technology break! Could you live without your smartphone, TV, tablet, video games, etc for an entire day? You will be amazed how much you get done when you aren’t tethered to technology for 24 hours. I know of some people who have done a technology fast for longer periods as well…a week and even a month.  Doing a technology fast does not mean that you cannot use your cell phone. Be practical about it and keep safety a priority. But unless you are having to deal with an emergency, turn off the ringer and avoid checking e-mail or social media on your phone. Planning a technology break one day a week can really help to break you free from the screen suckers and will reduce stress significantly.
  4. Plan technology free family or friend times. One thing that I see a lot of is groups of people gathered together…with everyone on their smart phone, not engaged in conversation with one another. I even know some married couples who sit in the same room and text one another instead of talking! It sounds absolutely crazy, but we often let technology interfere with connecting with the people that we care about most in our lives. And I guarantee that when you are on your deathbed, you won’t be saying “If only I hadn’t spent time with my family and spent more time playing Angry Birds!” The relationships in our lives is far more important than anything on your smartphone, so the next time you get together with friends or family have tech free time. One thing you can do when going out with friends is to make it a game! One challenge that I’ve seen is that the first person that picks up their cell phone has to pay the tab! At a family gathering, it could be the first person who picks up their cell phone has to do dishes, or sit at the kiddie table….you get the basic idea, so get creative with it and make those you care about a priority!
  5. Stop making excuses! Too many people use the excuse that spending time playing video games, watching TV or surfing the web is how they “relax”. But losing such a huge amount of time actually creates far more stress and does not relieve it! If you are really wanting to relax, look into going for a nice walk in nature, doing some meditation, reading a book or laughing with family or friends. These things are truly more relaxing than winding up like a zombie staring at a screen! These things will promote real health and relaxation for your body and mind.

It is vital to recognize how allowing yourself to get sucked into too much screen time can ultimately harm not only your health, but your relationships as well. It is up to you to take the first step today to pull yourself away from your screen. I’m going to do that now….and am going to read a good book!

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