When I was a kid I had about one hour of screen time a day. I was allowed to watch TV for one hour a day on schooldays and a bit more on the weekends. On top of this I was allowed about one hour to play games on my computer if I wanted to. This used to be my only exposure to digital media in my young days. What would I do with the rest of my time? Simple. I would read a book, go outside to play with my friends, go to school, go to swimming practice or annoy my little sister and brother. In school we did not use computers as often, since they were way too slow, and there were four computers for the whole classroom.
I got my first phone when I was eleven years old. In current times this is a pretty late age to get a first phone, seeing as most kids around the age of eight seem to already own one now. The only reason I got it was to stay in touch with my parents when I went to high school. It was a small Sony phone that had about 250 Mb’s of data on it. It wasn’t much, but I was proud of it. This is where it all started. Being in high school I got exposed to the different kinds of social media. I made my first Instagram and snapchat account. I also made a Facebook, but that was just to play candy crush honestly. Instagram quickly opened up a new world to me. I learned a lot about other people’s lifestyles and about other cultures. I mostly used snapchat, and WhatsApp, to keep in touch with most of my friends. Being on social media also taught me some valuable lessons. First of all, everything will forever be on the internet. So if you post an embarrassing selfie, people might find it about 10 years later and might use it the wrong way. It also taught me that you are never really private.
Slowly, the digital world started taking over my life. I now watched a lot more TV, was online for a big part of the day and got outside way less than I did before. It was a fun way to escape reality and just scroll through your phone for an hour, looking at memes and what other people had been up to. I also played a lot of candy crush back in the day, but that is not something I am proud of.
Then my final year in high school came. Spoiler alert: I did not pass my exams the first try. The reason behind this is that I was way too distracted. For example during the final exams I managed to watch the complete FRIENDS series on Netflix. This is obviously a big change since I was eleven years old.
During the pandemic the digital media became an even bigger part of my daily life. Since I had to follow school online and see my friends online. It certainly made some parts of my life easier. I did not have to travel for about 1.5 hours to get to school so I saved some time of my day. Seeing as my closest friends live to far away from me to easily visit them, I used to be on WhatsApp to talk to my friends for the biggest part of the day.
Through this way, without me noticing, the digital world slowly became my world. By spending more and more time online I sometimes forget there is a whole world out there to discover.
The digital world has certainly brought me some good things, but also maybe took away a big and important part of my life. When I look at my average screen time on my phone it is almost always higher than I expect. Without noticing I can spend more than 12 hours a day on my phone.