We’ve all been taught common sense …so why don’t we all use it?  In the era of digital media (devices), it’s become an addictive habit, similar to controlled substances. It causes impairments, leading one to use poor judgement, as it makes it difficult to practice common sense. Households with children and teens need supporting adults to help set positive examples during growing years, but upon coming home, if the adults are unable to put their devices down during interaction with one another, what kind of message is it sending… Is there no sacred place where conversations can happen without digital devices nearby? This should be common sense for adults, but all too often it’s their device taking control over their lives. People need to be working together so everyone can feel valued as a human being…it means putting your devices down and interacting face to face with your undivided attention.

Recently, I saw a television commercial that sparked my interest; it was an older gentleman standing in the doorway of his home, and while his family began arriving for dinner…he pulled out his metal detector wand and started waving it around the pockets of clothing, so every family member would leave their cell phone (device) in a basket at the door. The little girl at the end tried bringing her stuffed bunny to dinner, but she was caught by her grandpa when the device detected metal inside the bunny’s belly. Humorous…absolutely! The message was clear, it was going to be a dinner without distractions; ‘Device-Free Dinner’ is the caption. It’s unsettling to think our world needs that kind of commercial, but apparently it does. As I continued to watch, it gave a link at the bottom of the screen … https://www.commonsensemedia.org/digital-well-being . It consists of different professionals (nonprofit) who make up a team that recognize the importance of practicing common sense; empowering families and educators using digital devices, keeping their best interests first and foremost; by promoting balance and a healthy well-being attitude for people using tech devices.

The information on this website is enlightening, and I enjoyed numerous articles there. One in particular had described how our phones are programmed to trigger an emotional response through colored apps and sounds; this is so it can hijack the minds of all who use them. It affects the same area of the brain in which drugs and alcohol use (in addiction), so it makes it harder to put down the phones…hence the analogy ‘addiction.’ They talk about going to a ‘greyscale’ on your device instead of using all those bright colored apps; the effect on our brains makes us feel good; yet in reality its does us a huge injustice. If you use and set it to the ‘Greyscale’ in your settings, you’ll probably find yourself using the phone less often; less triggers, less temptation. This can only make life better; in my opinion. We need to bring families together again…whether it’s through ‘Device-Free Dinners’ or playing board games instead of digital ones; it’s a known fact that using our hands more frequently helps develop brain activity, which also makes us feel good. Help be a part of this ‘Device-Free Dinner’ movement; next time you go to a restaurant, put it away. Let’s talk more with each other while engaging less digitally; digital devices are addictive and are currently an epidemic. Conversations equal better social skills and meaningful relationships.

Make your week count.