There’s something a bit unnerving about this image. These two are on the phone to each other, one metre apart, but judging by what I notice from my own life, where my wife and I often hove into view while talking to each other on our mobiles, the use of electronics instead of ordinary voices is becoming more and more common.
Far be it from me to complain about communication, I make my living from it, but there is something chilling about the hours we all spend ‘attached’ to media every day. Have a look at Ofcom’s figures from 2010 below. On average we spend JUST UNDER 9 HOURS A DAY, using media. You heard right, 8.8 hours a day – and that’s an average.
I am increasingly aware of always being alert to the pinging of my mobile when an email or text arrives, even if I am absorbed in a book or talking with someone – or watching TV. As someone said to me recently: “You can become so withdrawn from reality that you become a virtual being having lost the ability to communicate or transact without a piece of silicon at your finger tips telling you what to do and how to do it.” Just recently a new book, ‘The Psychodynamics of Social Media’ has labelled our modern state of mind as ‘Continuous Partial Attention’. And Nicholas Carr, in his book, ‘The Shallows’ pulls together the evidence for how our screen-lives are changing our brains and our ability to think.
So when Weight Watchers reports, as they did via the Mail recently, that the average Briton has no time to go out, see friends, socialise (in the same place as the people they’re socialising with that is!), and calls us ‘Lazy Britons’ I personally don’t feel that I have EVER had so much to do, to attend to, to manage. I might not be with my friends but I am texting them, tweeting them, emailing them, blogging to them, or watching TV to get away from them.
You can read the Mail’s typically blamey report here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137470/Lazy-Britons-bothered-socialise-hard-day-office.html
Now take a look at your average day below – although perhaps we all regard ourselves as better than average. In that case this is nearly, but not quite you and me!
You may have read elsewhere that we are facing an OBESITY epidemic…and that the cost of this will soon overtake the cost of treating cancer, heart disease and other major killers combined. I wonder if the powers that be think that we are just swelling up through greed and overindulgence? No doubt they play a part, satisfying the impulsive hunger that arises from a busy tweeting session.
But this epidemic should come as no surprise to any of us, when, as far as I know the only way you can do most of these 9 hours is on your bottom, or at the most strenuous, standing still. Our media obsession is killing us, just because it keeps us on our bums.
I don’t think you’re lazy, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably as stationary as I am writing it. Time to get up… and go out I think!