Self-care was certainly a focus in 2019 which included social media breaks, digital detoxes, and downtime. My how quickly things have changed. Fast forward to quarantine 2020, where we have taken a different kind of social break: social distancing. Not only are we spending time at home – we can’t leave. So, what defines self-care today? We’re already home. Many of us are focused on spending time with loved ones. And we have been in a constant state of self-reflection.
What we are learning is that screens are not inherently turning us into zombies. In fact, these days, moments of comfort and joy have been experienced through technology and social media. Zoom happy hours make us feel like participants are in the same room. Games on House Party video chat give us necessary moments of laughter with friends. It is easy to forget these moments have all been a virtual experience versus IRL.
Statistics show us that there has been a fundamental shift:
- People are self-reporting 30-70% more screen time during COVID-19
- Kids’ screen time is up by 50%
- Gaming usage is up by 75%
So things have changed, but is this shift bad? I don’t think so. To me, screen time equates to a safe and authentic way to experience the world, social connection, and joy.
Social media has become one of the most real and connected experiences we have. From discussing with friends on Facebook to watching Instagram Lives of people we admire or finding the most up-to-date news on Twitter. For parents, screen time has become a necessity and a way for kids to find fun and enjoyment when kids can’t spend time with friends. The technology hasn’t changed, but we have.
We’ve also seen some innovative experiences coming out of this including:
- Live DJ parties by Mad Decent on Twitch
- Live cooking shows from friends and entertainment personalities
- Drag shows from local and celebrity drag queens on Instagram Live
- Trill-chella music festival on Triller
Some of us are starting to question: why did we ever leave our houses? Will we remember why after this is over?
I have noticed that some friends who generally don’t embrace technology as heavily may be struggling with feelings of self-isolation a bit more. I find it’s been important to reach out to these folks in our lives and encourage them to FaceTime or hang out on Zoom.
So, for the first time, we should all go to our screens, and find ways to use technology to keep “physical distancing” from becoming “social distancing” because with the internet we have no distance. The technology has always been there. And now it’s time for us to use it.