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The 3 Screens

The 3 Screens

If you asked someone to follow you for a day and record the amount of time you interacted with a screen, would your screen time outweigh the amount of time you interact with people face-to-face?


You might think that live media (real human interaction) outweighs digital, but it would be good to know for sure. According to a recent CNN report, Americans spend 10 hours and 39 minutes a day on a screen, consuming media – gorging really. Maybe you’re the exception.


It’s not news that one of the three screens in our lives – computer monitor, phone and TV – dominate the time and attention of our society. But we may have hit an inflection point. Nielsen reports the average American adult now watches 5 hours of TV every day (that’s 77 full days a year!).


As we look back on 2017, we may say this was the year that a screen was our dominant communication medium. Live, human, face-to-face, voice-to-voice interaction may now be a supplement to digital in a way that marks a new era.


We never know until later in life when the lines on the graph cross for live versus digital communication – maybe it’s now. This might be marked as the golden era of effective communications, or it might be the beginning of a darker time that sociologists look back on and report as ushering in a major tear in our social fabric.


Right now, you’re reading this on a screen.


So what? You say, what am I supposed to do? I can’t answer that for you, but I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to do more of what I like:


  • more phone calls
  • more breakfast with friends and colleagues
  • more live connections around the office
  • more time outside in nature
  • more time with my screens out of sight


I figure if I do more of the things I like, I’ll spend less time on my screens.


How about you?