Our 24/7 mobile technology and screen time, which now take up the majority of most people’s waking hours, are changing our brains.
The average person is now using screens, by some estimates, as much as 10 hours a day. It is arguably our single biggest type of waking activity. But what are the effects on a species that evolved to interact with others directly?
Too much screen time can make you and your kids moody, crazy, and lazy.
Many parents mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time—Internet or social media use, texting, emailing, and gaming—isn’t harmful, especially compared to passive screen time like watching TV.
But interactive screen time is more likely to be associated with sleep, mood, and cognitive issues, perhaps because it’s more likely to cause hyperarousal and compulsive use.
Take The #ScreenFreeSunday Challenge
Can you put down your smart phone for one whole day? My family and I took the #ScreenFreeSunday challenge…watch the video to find out what happened.
Today’s a new day and I’m back to using my iPhone… Baby steps, people, baby steps. But it has really opened my eyes to how much of reality we actually miss each day when we’re staring down at our screens. Not to mention I’m starting to develop a scalding case of tech neck.
Challenge your friends and loved ones to take a #ScreenFreeSunday (or any day that fits your lifestyle best).
Watch the original video here on Facebook and let us know how your #ScreenFreeSunday went in the comments! And check out the audio-only podcast editions (for those who don’t wanna get tech neck staring at a screen) here on iTunes and Soundcloud.
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
– Okay Z-Pac it’s your boy, ZDoggMD. Okay I’m here with a very important message that, listen guys, I’ve always said this. I would never ask you guys to do something that I myself haven’t forced myself to do under duress. And I forced myself and my family to go screen-free. None of this, for an entire day. Every single week. And we picked Sunday because ain’t nothin’ goin’ on on Sunday.
And the reason we did this, is we started noticing something about ourselves that many people have talked about, but until you see it in yourself and your own family, you don’t really take it seriously, and that is complete, brat ass, just disaster, mind melt. And that’s what social media and our devices seem to be doing to us.
My kids, 11 and seven, I had to think about that because I don’t spend enough face time with my kids, ’cause I’m too busy looking at my device, had started to become crazy about looking at their screens. So the Kindle Fire, they’re on YouTube looking at videos about making slime, they’re delaying their homework and procrastinating and then bursting into tears when they realize that they haven’t memorized all 50 states and the state capitals and it’s due tomorrow, but they’ve been watching slime videos all day.
And we’ve been remiss because what are we doing, my wife and I, but duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh. So my wife actually stepped up and said, “Listen, “Sunday, no screens at all. “Let’s see what happens.” What do the kids do? They literally lost their crap. They lost their fricking minds. You know who was second to lose their mind? Me! I make my living doing social media. I need my phone. I get 100 Facebook messages a day and 100 emails a day.
And I have to post and I have to be on Twitter and I have on Instagram. And my wife was like, “Well try it for one day, “and let’s just see what happens.” Lemme tell you what happened. We woke up that day. We all agreed, okay we’ll try it. I thought the world is gonna end. My kids got up, we’re all staring at each other. Tremors in our hands. What the heck are we gonna do? They can’t watch their morning cartoons. I can’t check email. I can’t see what happened on Facebook overnight.
Luckily, the night before, I had some foresight and I posted, I scheduled a bunch of posts on Facebook, a bunch of things that I cared about. We were in a state of detoxification. And you guys know how much I hate the word detox. We were all going nuts. What does that mean? That we’re fricking addicted to this!
If you don’t think you’re addicted, see if you have withdrawal when you stop the drug. If the drug is staring at your phone, at Instagram and Twitter and texting and emailing, whatever the hell it is. YouTube, for my kids. Netflix. Watch what happens when you take it away. It was so painful. So we had breakfast, all looking at each other. All trying to come up with conversation. And then something crazy happened, we started talking to each other. And then they were like, “Could we play a board game?” And I’m like, “What’s that?”
And we went and read the instructions, and played some Monte Carlo board game. And we’re laughing and joking and yelling at each other and throwing stuff. And then we’re playing tag in the house. And then me and my wife are talking about what the future of ZDogg Industries is, and what our goal is, and how we’re gonna inspire individuals to actually wake up and make change in healthcare, and I have yet to check a device or email or look at Facebook or look at videos. We’re talking to each other. We’re making eye contact.
I picked up the phone. Not to check a text or any of that, I actually have a landline at home, still, ’cause I’m a doctor and I get faxes, and I called my parents. And for the first time that I could remember in recent months or years, I focused on them exclusively without doing this. “Yeah well, I know it’s hard. “Yeah, getting old sucks. “Well, maybe you should see the doctor about, “oh God, hold on.” It was transformative. By midday, the kids were like, “What are we gonna do next? “Let’s go outside and play Frisbee.” And we did. What are we gonna do next? Should we go on a hike? Yeah, let’s do that. Went on a hike, all of us, as a family.
Then we went out to eat, and we all sat there, and paid attention. No one had a phone. No one was asking, hey the food hasn’t come yet, do you think we could watch? Kid let me borrow your phone while we’re doing this. That’s what the kids would do. And we would do it to keep them quiet, so they stop bitching. Instead, we talked to each other! It was ridiculous.
The guy who ran the restaurant came and sat with us, and talked about how excited he is to see us come in, and enjoy his food, and how he makes it, and he’s teaching the kid. Ties a little rubber band around the chopsticks so that she can use the chopsticks. If we were all staring at our phones, that would not have happened.
Now here’s the question. Is this just old man Z becoming grumpy and saying, “You know what, this is something.” ‘Cause there’s always someone like Simon Sinek, or someone’s online going “We gotta get off our phones,” and “It’s destroying this generation.” You know what though, it’s fricking true! So the iGen, this latest generation born after 1995, they have never been a sentient adolescent without having access to the entire internet on a phone. In the old days you had to sit on the computer, it sucked. It actually sucked. Millennials didn’t have this.
iGen, is the first generation that had this from the beginning. And they have increasing levels of depression, anxiety, suicidality, they’re having sex later, they’re doing drugs later, they’re drinking alcohol less, they’re safer by every measure, and yet it appears, all the data shows they’re more miserable than any generation since the Lost Generation of World War I. Do we have another Lost Generation, because we opened the Pandora’s box, and have no idea what has come out?
Human brains are wired for social interaction. We’ve hacked that with social media. And now we have fear of missing out, or worse, FOBLO, fear of being left out. My friends are at a party that I wasn’t invited to. First of all, get off the phone and go out and actually talk to human beings. That’s how we’re wired. Could it be that we’ll get past this phase, to where we actually incorporate it into our DNA? To the exclusion of millions of years of evolution? I hope so.
But until then, this is the call to action…
By they way, by the way, by the way, by the way, this morning, did I go running… ‘Cause yesterday was our screen-free day. This morning I woke up, I meditated for an hour, I didn’t even have the desire to touch a device, I had detoxified in just 24 hours. And I am the most addicted to my phone of anybody I know.
I had this amazing meditation session. I got up, the kids were awake. They had made breakfast, and they were sitting there talking to each other. They didn’t have their devices out, even though were allowed, and the three of us made jokes for about half an hour. I quizzed my daughter on her 50 states and her capitals. I drove them to school. Nobody touched a device. It can work. And now, today of course, I’m back, I have to check my emails, I have to work. We have to get back in the groove. But I am so much better off and so is my family for taking one day and just having no devices.
So my call to action is this, try that. I would never to ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Try one day off a week, it doesn’t matter what day it is, and see what it does. First of all, see if you’re really addicted. And then watch your relationships change. And in that day you’ll find you’re more mindful, you’re more focused, and you’re more grateful for what you actually have in the present moment, than what you are missing out on.
There’s a show Black Mirror on Netflix. Why do you think they called it Black Mirror? What is this? This is the call to action. Take one day a week. Kill all the devi, what? I got a text.
– [Tom] Actually I got one, it’s my postmate. I really just gotta answer this one.
– [Tom] Hold on.
– Wait a second. Oh yeah bro! What?
– Sorry, sorry.
– Yeah hit share, hit like. Dude, Tom, did you see this? While we were doing the show, Ariana Grande got married to Vanilla Ice.
– Dude, who called it by the way?
– [Tom] Let me see.
– Look at that, look at that, who called it? Right, ding, ding, ding, d-d-ding. Hey yo stop. Matrimony and listen.
– I love phones so much.
– I do, I love ’em too. I can’t quit you phone.