I recently watched a video where three generations of people were asked the same question: “When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?” (source). The different answers between the oldest generation and the youngest were staggering and showcase how much society has become dependent on technology. For example, answers from the oldest generation were picking blueberries, sledding, growing watermelons, and going fishing. The middle-age generation answered that they played outdoor games with friends and built forts. Yet, it is the answers from the youngest generation that are the most concerning. The younger generation answered that for fun they play video games and spend time on their phones or watching tv. These answers alone are not inherently concerning, however, it is the truth of how much time is spent doing these things that is troubling. One member of the youngest generation said he watched 23 episodes of his favorite tv show in four days. Another said she would die without her phone. Members of the youngest generation admitted that they spend three, four, even five hours straight on some type of screen. In full disclosure, this video is an ad for spending more time outdoors and it is sponsored by Nature Valley. You can see the entire video by clicking here.
So the real question is, what do you do for fun? I love to spend time outdoors running, hiking, and biking. I love to read and complete puzzles. However, I also love to watch movies and spend a great deal of time on some type of screen (computer, phone, tv). The video is meant to generate a reaction of alarm. However, I do not personally believe that all children, or adults for that matter, are addicted to their screens. Although, more and more are becoming unable to step away from their screens at an alarming rate. On the other hand, I am not an advocate for saying no to all technology. I truly believe that technology can help make our lives more efficient. The solution is instead of being controlled by technology we must make technology work for us. Cal Newport outlines a way to make technology work for us in his book Digital Minimalism. He discusses ways to take control of technology from the simple (turning off notifications) to the extreme (taking a digital fast) and everything in between.
All sourced information is hyperlinked as applicable above.