Life and Arts editor, Dakota Cox, speaks on his shifting perspective towards technology.
2020 has tainted the relationship between humans and screens.
When I was a child, my favorite thing in the world was my Gameboy. I was only allowed to play on long car trips or the rare occasions when a friend spent the night. My favorite game was Pokémon, of course. I remember the satisfaction I felt after beating the game for the first time. Those were the days before YouTube tutorials when discovery in games meant something.
When I grew older, I replaced my Gameboy with an out of commission iPhone I found one day in a crack of the couch in our family room. It served me well as an iPod for years until it finally refused to accept a charge and became replaced by my first official iPhone.
That phone met a violent end far before its time. It wasn’t missed. The replacement that sits in my pocket today has aged noticeably over the years having been through more than most. It will also not be missed.
Over the years, whether it be a computer, a television or a phone, there’s always been a screen at the center of my life. Though they may not always have received the majority of my time, the ideas attached to screens have almost certainly played a dominant role in my decisions since they were introduced to my life.
All it took was a taste and I was hooked, now I understand why my mom warned me about drugs. I only wish she’d known the damage a single screen can cause.
When I was 10 years old and my brother Yoshi was born, my mother more or less granted me the trust to make my own decisions. For me, this meant staying up till 5 a.m. watching Netflix, playing Skyrim and sleeping in until 2 p.m. Those were the days.
When I started living away from home, I began spending more time than ever in front of screens. They were no longer just an optional escape, they’d also become a regular part of my college education.
Now with the pandemic and online learning, the time spent in front of screens has crossed the threshold to a place of dread.
The once exciting prospect of a notification arriving on my phone is ruined by the endless nagging of unfulfilled responsibilities and classes I spend hard-earned money on to attend.
The little quality time I get to spend with family in the pandemic has become corrupted by the constant presence of screens.
Aside from hiking, almost every moment I was with Yoshi over the summer was spent playing the latest video games and half-paying attention to the shows playing in the background.
When I have time to spend the weekends with my Mother, I wake up before 7 a.m. for work and don’t get back until 5 p.m. By then, I’m exhausted and I’ve got a pile of stories to edit, if I don’t have to write one myself, along with whatever homework I couldn’t finish during the week.
My mom is mostly glued to her phone and outside of an occasional board game or family movie, we retire to our respective rooms. Is this what life has come to?
Screens can be used to accomplish great achievements as tools or produce great joy as toys, however anything over-used can become unhealthy. So, give your poor brains a break, I know mine needs one!