This post and a break from Instagram (I’m not on Facebook), got me thinking more about distractions. I see the evidence that constant distraction is creating children who can’t face boredom with creativity and problem solving (see my post about being tv free), and I know I have a phone addiction issue, but I haven’t looked at it in a deeper way to analyze how being constantly entertained affects me. So, here are my park time musings while I watched the bugs and the grass in the breeze…
Why do we distract ourselves? In what ways do we distract ourselves? Are other sentient beings capable of self-distraction?
If we allow ourselves to just sit and pay attention to the nuanced things going on around us, then we might also notice the things going on inside of us. They might be upsetting thoughts or feelings or things that require effort and self-work to address. By distracting ourselves with automated instant gratification entertainment, we can avoid that self work.
How did I feel socially involved pre smart phone? Why is being in my own head-space for hours on end uncomfortable when I used to revel in it? How does having a smart phone effect my parenting and my relationship with my son?
Screens, especially tv, are a socially accepted and promoted version of self-distraction. Rather than work on our own inner and inter-personal issues, we can focus on the drama laid out in front of us be it the local news, a football game, or a drama series. We can then discuss those events on social media instead of talking about personal things with friends or taking social action and being involved in our communities. We can avoid eye contact with strangers, and thus the possibility of meaningful interaction, by being conveniently engaged by our phones.
What long term effects will this constant distraction have on individuals and societies? Will we be less constructive, less happy, less creative? Will more people realize the negative effects and take action to limit the distractions in their lives?
(I know this wasn’t micro by any means, but it’s what started coming out as I made the time to write in my own space and stop obsessively checking my phone.)