By Denyse O’Leary
Our use of the new media can wreck our health and morals, and, yes, in the wrong setting, it could — and does — kill thousands of people.
An auto safety site in the United States claims that 23% of auto accidents in 2011 involved a cell phone. If correct, that should be no surprise. The minimum distraction time is 5 sec, which is just enough to close the “window of opportunity” that our driving instructors told us about — the few seconds when we can avoid an anticipated crash.
Another statistic states that 55% of young adult drivers think it is easy to text while driving, but 10% were found, when studied, to be driving outside their lane at the time of texting. No wonder they call it “driving while intexticated”. This “intextication” therefore is clearly a form of social media addiction that comes, like other addictions, with a free ‘I-deny-I-have-a-problem’ package.
Here is a simple exercise for you to do. Take out your wireless device. Read the last text message you received out loud. Would reading or responding to that text message from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle be worth the risk of getting into a car accident or worse? Chances are, the text message could – and should – wait.
Also of interest is the commentary to the effect that a teen’s reflexes are as slow as those of a 70-year-old when texting and driving. But the teen does not have the many decades of driving experience that enable the 70-year-old to compensate.
Now, a few comments on social media addiction. Social media addiction is like any other kind of addition; you spend all your time pursuing an imagined happiness that an addiction can never give. Let me quote one author-writer-social media addict.
“I always have at least a handful of tweets and posts ready days, sometimes weeks, ahead of when I plan to use them. I never want to be caught off guard or left speechless. I really just want to have something meaningful to say. And I am forever judging myself by my social media performance. Sometimes I frequently fall asleep at my desk, just as often waking up in the middle of the night, mid-sentence, without any understanding of where the night went. Someone has messaged me. I look and it’s a dear friend of mine whom I’ve never met face-to-face, and yet we’re closer than I am with some of my offline friends.”
“I ended up on social media for a reason, and though the reason escapes me during moments of sheer panic and anxiety, I take part, no matter what — the pursuit of relevancy, or, in the strictest sense of the term, validation, is an imperative that exists as a key part of humankind’s quest for meaning. Self-definition has become intertwined with social media. We are all here for each other.”
My reaction to his comments? The problem isn’t social media. The problem is you. You think no one accepts you if you are not a star, or popular with so many online friends. If we were coping with a major disaster, this level of effort might make sense, but it’s not worth doing just to impress or amuse people. I ask you: Wouldn’t you be better off with a small circle of people who would try to find you and understand you and relate to you in the real world face-to-face? Get out and meet them.
But, please, please, don’t drive while “intexticated”!!!
Source: Excerpts from Canadian journalist, author, and blogger Denyse O’Leary’s blogs “Driving while “intexticated” and “Portrait of a social media addict …” posted on MercatorNet.com on November 9 and ll, 2015