Living life through a screen

For those who aren’t based on the UK, the artist simply known as “Banksy” is an anonymous activist who displays street art and political messages in graffiti across the country. His stenciled images usually attract high valuations too.

Just a few hours ago, Banksy shared this tweet. He’s sending out some meaningful and thought-provoking messages via that platform too, and has 1.5 million followers.

The tweet simply says, “Live for the experience” and shows a typical street scene where a group of people are watching something. We don’t know what exactly. It could be a parade, a marathon, a concert, who knows…
Living life through a screen

Initially this looks fairly normal until you realise that everyone is holding a phone. Everyone is filming. There’s even those lunatics who film in portrait mode.

However, if you look again you’ll notice that it isn’t quite everyone..

Living life through a screen

I love this lady. She’s from a different generation. A generation that perhaps has different priorities. Yet, as I inwardly agree that we’re all glued to our phones too much, I’m reading the tweet whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. I’ve wasted time reading Facebook and adding dull comments about the weather on my social networks. I’ve walked into work, like many others, with my head stooped. A phone zombie. A phone addict.

The trouble with these phones is that they add good, useful features but also deliver sometimes frivolous and time-sucking apps that really aren’t important. Some can be potentially damaging, with news outlets today reporting that Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform at impacting mental health in young people. The Royal Society for Public Health study showed that some apps instill “anxiety” among users, and that it’s selling a false image of life.

The users of social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are perhaps portraying their lives as more glamorous and interesting that they actually are. They’re planning places to take photos and exaggerating experiences, perhaps also boasting about events, which causes those following to feel inadequate.

These apps are designed to be addictive. They pop up with notifications and, in a way, you feel as if someone has “news” for you. Open your phone and you may see 20 notifications from Facebook, 6 from Instagram and more from Twitter. However, these aren’t for you directly, even though it feels that way.

The RSPH report mentions a girl called Isla. She’s only in her early 20s but says that social media became an addiction during her teenage years…

The online communities made me feel included and that I was worthwhile. However, I soon began to neglect ‘real life’ friendships and constantly spent all my time online talking to my friends there. I fell into a deep depressive episode aged 16, which lasted for months and was utterly horrible.

During this time social media made me feel worse, as I would constantly compare myself to other people and make myself feel bad. When I was 19, I had another bad depressive episode. I’d go on social media, see all my friends doing things and hate myself for not being able to do them, or feel bad that I wasn’t as good a person as them.

Whilst social media has also been a positive and, via a blog, it’s helped Isla, there has to be some control. There has to be a realisation of where “fake news” stops and the “real life” around you starts. Putting the phone away is difficult, believe me I know, but it’s important to draw a line and realise what’s really important in life.