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The Screen Sabbath

November 4th, 2016

Baron Jonathan Henry Sacks is a British rabbi, philosopher and scholar of Judaism.  He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013 and knows his Jewish history rather well.

Indeed, he highlights the good sense of Moses in calling for weekly down time, also known as the Sabbath.  After all, if it was good enough for the books of Genesis and Exodus it must be good enough for Jews and Gentiles.  On the radio this morning he was calling for a ‘Screen Sabbath’ – the latest attempt to push digital detox and promote night time ‘dreaming, not streaming’.

Text claw, iPosture, text neck, phantom pocket vibration syndrome and generally poor attention spans are well established side-effects of our increasingly tech-dependent existence.

But surely technology is made to serve us and we are not meant to serve technology?

A Study by University of Derby says 13 per cent of us are addicted, and the average user spends 3.6 hours a day on their smartphone. Moodiness, loneliness and jealousy are all key indicators of addiction.  An obsession with physical appearance is also a telling sign.  This cannot be healthy.  We are like that well-known frog in the (now banned) science experiment swimming merrily around in the water as the temperature is a gradually increased to boiling point.

This is worrying.  Everybody needs downtime.  Everybody needs off time.  Perhaps everybody needs or something similar; an app which regulates, monitors and reports back on screen usage.

Let’s report back to you about this next week.  Our first digital detox is Tuesday night.  Watch this space – not your screens.