Excessive screen time: consumers vs creators & JADE (a rant)

I had a conversation the other day about online schooling and screen time and how all this stuff has affected the kids, especially here in Ontario where schools have been closed for longer than any other place in the world when suddenly, she said this:

“Well, you’re always on a screen.”

She’s not wrong.

I have to admit I got immediately defensive and really had to reign it in. I was in the mood to rant and lash out, not at her, but at all the misunderstanding that prevails for many people in my age demographic and older.

I was in such a state that I walked away, but came back later and JADE-ed myself.

JADE

Justify Argue Defend Explain

Exactly the thing I don’t want to do anymore.

Here’s the thing. She didn’t mean it as an attack. She was simply making a correct observation, as had other people in my life. Hockey and ringette families for instance. In some cases, they don’t say anything but their body language or facial expressions are telling enough. In other cases, they come right out and ask me why I’m not mingling or talking with the other group but sitting there staring at my screen. (I don’t stare mindlessly…I read or I type. There I go again with the JADEing.)

It’s not that I don’t socialize. I do, at times. But I don’t at other times. So, yes, I stare at my screens. A lot.

Why?

Because I DO things online.

  • I WRITE things. Notes, stories, reminders, ideas.
  • I PONDER the things I write.
  • I NURTURE my online community.
  • I ENGAGE with my followers.
  • I EDUCATE myself academically.
  • I READ and LEARN which in turn propels me to CREATE.

All of this has gained me an online tribe, here and on other platforms, which has encouraged and supported me in ways that I simply do not get from my IRL (In Real Life) environment.

The reasons I spend a lot of time online are varied but the result (my creative output) is part of my If Not Now, When movement:

  • I wrote my first book. I self-published it and sold copies.
  • I launched a jewelry business and opened an Etsy shop to sell my hand-made beaded necklaces and bracelets.
  • I experimented with online income streams and have a slow but steady increase urging me to keep doing what I’m doing (Medium Partner Program, Amazon Affiliate Program, and a few other interests that may or may not result in the desired outcome and are ongoing).

As I reflected my irrational reaction, I realized that sometimes people simply don’t understand the difference between being an online creator and being an online consumer.

The key difference is that I engage with my community online. I may not have thousands of followers on Instagram but I create content that tells a story, often supplementing what I discuss here on the blog. I get likes, sometimes comments, and there is some back and forth communication with people who take time out of their day to acknowledge something I created online. Sometimes, I make a sale on social media because you see, I sell my creations online: my book, premium content, jewelry

All of this JADEing is simply reinforcing that I enjoy being online, not just for the social aspect, but for the creativity aspect.

I enjoy my screens because it is a creativity outlet for me. I don’t sit and stare at my phone the way I used to sit and stare at my television back in the day.

Which brings me back to my rant.

I may spend a lot of time on screens, but my family is fed, the housework is done, the meals planned, shopped and cooked, the dog walked, the dentist appointment booked…

No one needs to remind me to take a break from my screens because people are starving or the dog peed on the floor or we ran out of milk.

Can people who consume social media but don’t interact, engage or create any themselves say the same?

Can they say, with their massive amounts of followers and zero posts on their instagram account, that they have spent valuable time online?

As much as memes may be part of our collective online existence today, they do nothing besides give us short-term and easily forgettable entertainment.

Do this instead:

Invent a meme and write an article or create a youtube tutorial.

Welcome to content creation. You are no longer a lazy ass consumer-only of social media.

Anyway, that’s my rant today. Thank you for dropping by my blog. I have to head out to shovel the driveway again, the snow is past my knee!

See you in the comments.

27 thoughts on “Excessive screen time: consumers vs creators & JADE (a rant)

  1. Judgemental attitudes are so annoying. I don’t think anyone would say that massive amounts of screen time is the best thing ever, but technology/screen time today allows people to work, run businesses, shop, connect with distant loved ones, share creative work, etc. Sure, it also means lots of wasted time, but to write off the benefits, especially in the age of coronavirus, is really short-sighted

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least one kid complains of headaches. I pull her off screens… which is difficult for all the above mentioned reasons. Also she is 14…

      Yeah, maybe when this pandemic finally winds down we can get back to normal life with less, but not no screens. I’m up for that.

      Like

  2. I’m reading a book about the influence of screen use on our lives. After that I made some decisions to maintain control over the screens, it has served me quite a bit to set some limits and avoid too much time in front of the window of fascination.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My observation is that if you feel you’re accomplishing something when you find yourself in front of a screen, it’s good. I write a blog, share photos on IG, make sure to check-in on other bloggers, but that’s about it. Screens allow me to create and to connect. They aren’t instead of human interaction, they’re a supplement to daily life.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very well articulated. Yes, people got to transcend from just being a consumer to being a creator. Unfortunately a vast majority on the social media comprises of the ‘lazy consumer’ comunity. It is same across any field…business or other profession..few organise/ create and a majority sits n consumes.
    Stay blessed always 🌹🙏🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ok. You know I’m going to do two things. First, I’m going to ask if you’ve done a time audit about what you actually do when online. Then I’m going to ask if it’s really that different from what your kids do. Then I’m going to ask for five things that you don’t use a screen for, and I want you to leave out cleaning/household things (except cooking and using a recipe)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read books. I crochet. I design jewelry. I write traditional letters to a few elderly family. Today I shoveled part of a driveway for an elderly neighbour (we got two feets of snow dumped overnight). I taught myself to fix and remount a towel rack, some plumbing issue under the bathroom sink and the toilet handle. I plant and tend to gardens, including vegetables. I got PLENRY interests away from screens. 😀 The time audit online during the pandemic has increased a lot, but I have plenty to do (for joy) outside of the internet.

      One of my kids does art and crafts. She spends a lot of time watching YouTube. I ran out of space to hang her art. She taught herself how to sew. She creates other things. She uses devices for both entertainment and creativity (and some time wasting).

      Not sure what the other kid does, it’s possible he learns academic things but mostly he scrolls memes, follows a bit of sports, watches movies. By his own admittance.

      Point is, when I online, I do a lot of creative or practical things. I do occasionally waste time, especially during lockdowns, but not to the point where it impedes my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is because we don’t know what the other does on there all day.

        I find it hard to disconnect but at the same time I also know all the other shit is done. They need reminding and even if I let them fall down (consequences and all that), it ends up affecting MY life and time and that’s not acceptable.

        Like you say, slippery slope.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, are they doing everything they’re supposed to be doing? Chores, homework, etc? If they’re not, don’t pick up the slack. Let them fail. And I mean that in the best parenting way possible.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I get it. But at a certain age there’s only so much control you can have. You could always change the internet password every day so they’re required to go through you to get it

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love my screen time. Blogging, reading the news, catching up with friends, the occasional game of Spades…. but I tend to do it when I’m alone and not to the exclusion of anything else. As for that woman’s comment, it’s none of her business!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting! It’s a new acronym for me too. Every day one learns something! 🙂 I spend a lot of time facing a screen as well, only that I don’t go online while I write so as not to get distracted. When I am working, I close the browser and focus (try to, at least) on my writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hang a sign: Will work for chocolate! Just had to toss that in since you mentioned it. That’s a whole lot of snow, but I’m saying that very quietly because there is none predicted in our 2 week forecast here and I don’t want to give Mother Nature any ideas. As for the social issues, maybe you can print up a small card and pass it out when you get those looks. Something like: I REALLY DO WORK ONLINE…REALLY

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Meh. I’m sore all over. This is more than my 24 minutes of Asana Rebel and I’m not done yet (it’s still snowing)… plus, the son of the 80yo neighbour is blocked in and can’t come over to help her so I’m heading over there to dig her out a bit later. 🙂

      I don’t mind. Especially because I just ate cheesecake. 🙄 Also, the snow is so pretty… until now all we had was mud, liquid and frozen.

      As far as the content creation is concerned, I’ve been on WP, Medium, Etsy and Instagram already, Twitter for an hour earlier (only to find out that schools are closed but remote learning is on once again) and it’s only mid-afternoon. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The JADE acronym is a new one for me, so thanks! I learned something. It makes me think of Ben’s Mama, the super Capricorn… she has a hoodie with “I’m not arguing, I’m explaining why I’m right” written on it😂😂

    I am SOOOO happy I don’t have to deal with snow. I can drive about 45 minutes east, into the mountains and Visit snow, then head back west and be at the coast in a little over an hour.

    You need one of those noisy snow blower thingies or your son😉😂😂😂
    💌💌

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We have a snowblower. I’d have to get the manual out, read it, realize I can’t see without glasses, go inside, drag snow everywhere, find my glasses, go back out, read instructions, notice they’re in chinese…

      I shoveled and considered it my workout for the day. It’s still snowing so I’ll get another workout in and I told my 80 year old neighbour I’ll go dig her out later, as well. She has chocolate so…

      😛

      Liked by 3 people

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