Let Others Miss Out

Posted 05/16/2019 | By HealthCorps

By: Alicia Haywood

As we wrap up our academic commitments for this school year and downshift into summer speed, I’m wondering how my students will reassign the hours formally devoted to our classes. Sure, we all need to break away to give our brains a chance to recharge, but what does that mean? My hope is that we open ourselves up to brain space free from screens, and the sensation of real life experiences shared with other human beings in real time. Can we look forward to absorbing moments in full splendor, as they happen, without device interference? Can we reject the worry of snapping and posting for anyone who may not be present? Let others miss out … as we live with no concern for camera angles or likes or filters. Why capture a moment through a camera lens — just to share on social media — and risk missing the multi-sensory experience to be shared with those who care to spend quality time with you?

Earlier this month, Diane Sawyer reported an assessment of our media habits in her #ScreenTime special on 20/20. If you missed the original broadcast, you can still view it here. I like to think of it as a primetime prescription for media literacy education. Full of expert voices explaining the impact of excessive media engagement on our relationships and overall well-being, and yet the purest, most resonant comment may have come from a 3-year-old pleading with his mother to listen to him with her whole face.

Are you thinking critically about the space media occupies in your life? How often are you making eye contact while in conversation? How much of your life is happening without media involved? I’m encouraging my students [all of us] to recharge this summer through some screen-free memory making. A few ideas:

(1) Unplug and play some physical outdoor activities,

(2) Organize a screen-free party for your neighborhood

(3) Schedule some quality catch-up meal time with friends with no devices allowed.

This fall, October 21-25 to be exact, the National Association for Media Literacy Education is hosting the 5th annual Media Literacy Week in the United States. So what do we do between now and then to prepare? Share real life in real time.

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