There’s a huge push for digital detoxing right now. I get it, really, I do. People do become disconnected from their family and friends due to spending too much time on social media, checking emails, snapping selfies, and so on. The kind of detox that is popular right now might appeal to people who spend their days online, on their smart phones, engaging with everone except their family.
But what about those of us who rely on screens to engage with others because a disability prevents us from socialising outside of our homes? I am not referring to lockdown life, I am referring to people, such as mysef, who have to spend huge swathes of time at home because a disability prevents us from leaving home.
And what about those of us who rely on tablets, IPads, smartphones etc to read? Someone like me, for instance, who has severe issues with joint pain, swelling, and even dislocations, what then? I know I can’t always hold a book, that’s where my kindle is a life saver. And there are times when I am confined to my bed, my phone is vital in keeping me connected with the outside world.
I have a smart watch that I use for a variety of reasons, quite a lot of them health related. My screens are a lifeline for me, when I am bed-bound I rely on them. I haven’t found an alternative solution that would enable me to have as good a quality of life as I have when my disability bites hard.
I don’t think we should fall into the demonising screens trap. I think we have to use our common sense. We have to establish whether a screen detox is something that would be beneficial to us, or would we be doing it just to follow a trend. This demonising of screens seems to be the latest thing we should all do. We find ourselves portrayed as slaves to our screens, but the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we really a slave to them?
I have yet to see any articles or self help books welcoming the use of screens for those of us who have limited mobility and the like. We seem to be forgotten when it comes to being represented in these mediums. This can often leave us feeling confused by what we are reading, we are as keen as anyone else to improve our lives, but often get left feeling despondent by reading that our lifeline is really bad for us and we shouldn’t really use it as much as we do.
Is something that is a lifeline to us such a bad thing?