Over spring vacation, we did a family screen detox. We all just spend too much time staring at screens, sometimes more than one screen at once, ugh, and we all needed to back way the heck off and re-learn how to do other things with our time and minds and attention. The kids astutely pointed out that actual detox in real life doesn’t even work, to which we astutely responded, “Too bad; we’re doing it anyway.”
So we did, and it was good. We spent a lot of time together, we read and crafted more, and I absolutely did not miss the bleak numbness that comes with constant, obsessive doom scrolling. One kid, who formerly spent most of his free time drawing and animating on his tablet, pulled out his old sketch pads and started drawing with pencils and ink again. He’s quite good, and I love seeing him draw either way, but I was excited to see the return of the paper and pencil. I asked him how that went.
He said that it was hard, but good. He described what a different sensation it is to feel the texture of the paper under the tool, rather than to work directly with your fingertip on a screen. He said he’d like to develop both skills, because they’re each useful and valuable in their own ways.
Then he said something I hadn’t thought of: That drawing on paper was scarier, because you can’t just disappear your mistakes. When you make a mistake on a tablet, you can just tap it twice (or whatever; I forget exactly what the gesture is) and you revert back to the previous version. But on paper, you can either try to erase a mistake, or you can try to work with it, but you can’t just make it like it never happened.
Here’s the part that got my attention … Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.