Media Overload More Than 24 Hours a Day
November 13, 2013

Media Overload More Than 24 Hours A Day

Did you know that a person can conceivably have more than 24 media hours in a day? I know. How is that even possible? Well, according to one redOrbit article, this happens when we increase the amount of simultaneous media streams in our homes and offices. Meaning we have a television on while working on a computer or playing games and using our phones to post status updates or tweets. Oh, and don’t forget about those tablets with online research happening. Yeah, that is a lot of media input.

In fact, redOrbit reports that by 2015, Americans will consume 15.5 hours a day of media on average via the different mediums of technology. The primary source for that consumption? That’s right, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. That amount of time is longer than I am often awake per a day. Well, it is at least equivalent to the time I am awake, which means that on average, people will spend their entire waking time on technology.

Few can deny the benefits of technology. It aids in all that we do from housework to homework, work time to play time, and even in our relationships. I could not write as much or as often if I did not have my laptop. Sure, I could still write, but I would not be as prolific. Plus, technology allows me to see my friends and family all over the world through programs like Skype, G-Chat, and Facebook Video. We still send cards and letters, but every once in a while we just need to see each other. Technology helps us to do that.

Furthermore, technology aids in education in so many ways. I teach composition classes where students have to do a surfeit of research to find source support for their arguments. Research is hard, time consuming, and demanding, all of which make it frustrating to many. Technology has helped to alleviate some of the frustration of research. With online databases like EBSCOhost, JSTOR, and others, students can find sources from journals, magazines, newspapers, books, lectures, dissertations, and so much more in seconds. Then there are search engines like Google Scholar and iSeek that search academic and legal documents. Let’s not forget plain ol’ Google, Bing, or whatever regular search engine the students use. I mean, it is incredible. Of course, print sources are still stressed, but technology has taken this aspect of education to a whole new level, and it has benefitted other aspects as well. Yes, technology and media certainly have their benefits.

However, consuming upwards of 16 hours a day of media seems excessive. Where is the down time? Where is the time for personal interactions? Where are the hug, the laugh, the book in our hands? I support technology. I love its many aspects. But I also support putting it down and just talking, face to face, and touching, hand to hand. It is important to shut the television off, open a book, and just read with the pages in our hands. We need the time to allow our eyes—and our brains—to slow down, disconnect if you will.

Americans need to put their phones down, shut them off, and take time away for a bit every day. That is my new goal. Every day I will step away from media and enjoy the tangible. What about you?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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