Posts Tagged ‘FB’

Un-plug: Be still

September 24, 2016

Unplug: Be Still

I think I must becoming old – I find the relentlessness of watching people being plugged in to things all day long quite baffling. I’m as fond of FB and internet chatting of all sorts of persuasions as anyone but surely you need more down time than most modern people seem to have these days?

There are numerous studies about screen time re-wiring young people’s brains: that attention spans are ever diminishing; that the ability to concentrate for extended times is being eroded. And of course every second month someone bemoans the lack of reading by the young especially (that would be me!!).

There are the dangers of fire, the threat of cancer to long term mobile phone users, there is the damage to standard written English through text speak and the growing inability for people to connect face to face. Why have a sustained conversation with anyone when you can look at something inane on your phone or check a message from someone else? People are losing the art of conversation; young people have almost no idea how to listen respectfully and take turns, not shut people down or shout louder. You can now be connected to your work-place 24/7 so you don’t get the opportunity to walk away every evening, or have a weekend. Work is now always with you. Is that a bonus or a blight?

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People rely on their phones almost it seems to the exclusion of all else. Or a tablet, or a PC or a games console. Yes the mobile phone has been on an extra-ordinary journey and it does an amazing amount of things – we’ve all seen the memes showing all the different items that are now amalgamated into one smart-phone.

But what I wonder about, what I worry about, is how do so many people – the young – turn off their brains. How do they know how to be still, how to be alone and quiet…

At the end of a phone or a laptop or computer we are always a tap and a click away from connection – a message, a like, an emoticon of approval. But how useful to our ability to just ‘be’ is it all?

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Stillness, doing nothing, boredom even, allows your brain to roam, to think, consider; ponder things all on its own. It doesn’t need reference to other people, information or the plethora of mis-information out there. People need space to do nothing, time to recharge their own batteries; time to calm themselves down.

I worry for our future artists and writers. If you are eternally plugged into other people and nonsense how can you dream, how can you imagine other worlds, other realities and want to explore them? How can you watch people and soak up the madness of the real world and write about it if you never pay attention to it? How can you question things if you don’t have the space to think about matters?

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I worry for our young people in a world of increased pressure, exams, appearance; being monstered in the ‘sanctity’ of their bedrooms by friends and by casual strangers who thinks it’s fun to trash some naïve girl’s selfie in a bikini, or that it’s somehow okay to text naked pictures of your girlfriend to the universe. Young people are increasingly anxious, increasingly depressed – perhaps all this connection is playing a significant part?

Being plugged in gives a sense of connection, of belonging. It also brings bullying and trolling. The internet is both wonderful and terrible, in all its manifestations. It has become a central part of our lives. I do not wish it gone: I love it too. But it has become a monster that has over-taken too much of our lives. It is possible to step outside the house without your phone. You can walk your baby without being on the phone. You can sit on the bus and just stare aimlessly out the window, letting your mind roam.

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Take the time to un-plug your connections. Move away from the screen (after you’ve read this) and be still. Talk face-to-face, go for a walk without anything electronic in your pocket. Gaze at the world again and see its wonder and beauty. Be in this moment and not worried about what is happening somewhere else. The message will still be there when you turn on again, the world will not have stopped turning just because you were un-plugged.

Go on, un-plug, let yourself be still, even if only for half an hour. I’m sure you’ll feel better for it. (Images from Private Collection)

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Why FB Quizzes Are Good for You

September 6, 2014

I am:

Samantha from Bewitched

My Spirit Animal is a Wolf

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom & War

72% Right Brain

My Aura is Purple

My famous boyfriend is Robert Downey Jr

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Can you guess what I’ve been doing?

It’s a no brainer: oodles of Face-Book quizzes, like many others of you out there, because I get them from you. That list of results only scratches the surface! I have become addicted to them – not all, I hasten to add, but too many, it’s true. It’s not a good FB session if I haven’t had a go at at least one quiz.

But FB isn’t the only place for quizzes. I do the Brain Teasers in the Metro every morning as I psyche up for work; the Literary Quiz, Word Watch and Two Brains in Saturday’s Times and just to be even handed, I had a spell where I was addicted to The Guardian’s on-line quizzes, where I got scores ranging from 2/10 – 9/10! High scores were usually related to utter trivia… I never miss Pop Master on BBC2 when I’m home and I have managed a couple of good scores – 27/39 last time. Of course, there are pub-quizzes and all sorts of other places where you can team up with mates and pit your wits against others at quiz nights. Love them too – even when I don’t win.

There’s also a whole swag of quizzes on TV too. The old faithful reliable likes of University Challenge, Mastermind, Jeopardy and others like Only Connect or Eggheads, but that’s a bit slow.

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You could spend most of your waking hours playing quizzes. There is a quiz for every sort of person in the world. If you move onto Sudoku and crosswords and other puzzles there’d be no room for anything else in your life.

Downsides to quizzes:

They waste a great deal of your time

Many of them are excessively trivial

They mostly tell you nothing useful about yourself or the world

They can be addictive

They can make you anti-social

They can make you feel more of an idiot than you already are

 

But there is a significant and important up-side to doing quizzes and puzzles and it should console those of us who are starting to feel guilty about how much of our lives is disappearing in a fug of on-line quizzes and vegetative states in front of a TV screen.

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Quizzes (and puzzles):

Keep your brain moving

Keep all its synapses and neurons firing

keep you sharp

Give you new insights into yourself

Give you new information

Keep dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay

 

So, ditch the guilt, do your quiz, keep your brain moving. Remember it’s like the rest of your body, if you keep exercising it you get to keep it longer. And in this era of increasing dementia anything that fires up your grey matter has to be a good thing. (Images courtesy Private Collection and Non-commercial reuse from Google)