Photo by Martin Olsen on Unsplash

Imagine if we could cast aside screentime

In a recent essay published in the New York Times Opinion section, Paul Greenberg shared some insight on what we could do with our money and time if we set aside our phones for a year. In Search of Lost Screen Time argues for reclaiming lost time spent on these devices.

More than three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone. In 2018 those 253 million Americans spent $1,380 and 1,460 hours on their smartphone and other mobile devices. That’s 91 waking days; cumulatively, that adds up to 370 billion waking American hours and $349 billion.

Greenberg shares specifics about investments we could make elsewhere in our lives, from planting trees, to investing money, to gazing at our children.

The essay shares some sobering advice and allows us an opportunity to reflect on how much time we spend in front of screens each day. Additionally, there is a need to think about the amount of e-waste (electronic waste) that accumulates from all of our discarded electronics and appliances.

Even as we reflect, and try to find balance in our use of screentime, there is a need to understand that we live in a world with ubiquitous access to digital devices and spaces. Total avoidance may not be desired, or possible. Taking time to reflect…and striving for balance might be the best course of action.

About the author

Ian O'Byrne

Dr. W. Ian O’Byrne is a educator, researcher, & speaker. His work centers on teaching, learning, and technology. He investigates the literacy practices of individuals as they read, write, and communicate in online & hybrid spaces.

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