Screen Addition: Control, Attention and Creativity

Generally, I feel like I’ve gotten a much better handle on my screen addiction over the last few months, mostly because of the lows that I sunk to over lockdown. For a while, I was well and truly gripped by my phone and the continuous stream of misery that it would put out. It became a running joke that my phone was attached to my hand; that I couldn’t withstand a moment of boredom or quiet without scrolling. Unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of time this year feeling helpless, hopeless, anxious and pessimistic.

Until I remembered, thanks to some strong words of encouragement from Mr. G, the importance of a good mental diet.

Until I remembered that one can’t live on junk food and expect to feel healthy, never exercise and expect to feel energetic, check social media 200 times a day and expect to feel happy.

What it really comes down to is control and attention. When you open yourself up to online information, you have very little control over what you’re going to see and how that might impact your thoughts, feelings, mood and emotions. It’s a reactive experience. Worse still, it points our attention towards other people – to the kind of lives that they’re creating, that they’re living – and away from actually creating and living the kind of lives we want for ourselves.

It’s these things that I remember when I catch myself scrolling unconsciously.

I remember that I want to be proactive, not reactive; that I want to be create more than I watch other people create; that I want to be in control of my devices and not the other way around.

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