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Published November 26, 2019

THE VIEW FROM MY SEAT

But I’m not an iPad addict

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

Four hours and 28 minutes.

That’s how much daily screen time I averaged last week on my iPad. That, thanks to the calculator app on my you-know-what, means I will spend more than two months this year on my iPad. And that doesn’t include iPhone time.

As depressing as this sounds, I don’t think of myself as an iPad addict. I don’t, after all, know how to use most of the apps, I am not on speaking terms with Siri, and I don’t play video games.

Those screen time figures, however, jarred me into researching iPad addiction just to make sure I wasn’t in need of an intervention. I Googled “iPad addiction.” On my iPad, of course.

There is screen after screen of online articles about iPad addiction among children, but few on adults. One silly site jokes that an iPad addict is a user who double taps a regular piece of paper and expects it to get bigger or uses the two-finger zoom in/zoom out technique to change the text size.

Most research indicates that an adult is addicted if the iPad interrupts daily life.

So, I thought I would more closely examine my iPad use on a routine day.

I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. I grabbed my iPad, which just happened to be near, and checked some news apps in case there was breaking overseas news on Brexit or China trade. It’s hard to break habits after spending 50 years in the news business. But I am not an iPad addict.

That morning I read the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press and Politico on my iPad while waiting for the stock market to open. At 8:30 I clicked on a stock market app to see how my portfolio was performing. But I am not an addict.
Later, I checked Facebook. I have a politically distant cousin in California who sends me stupid memes in support of his political views. I can’t let those go unchallenged. I type a comment, or two. But I am not an addict.

I also belong to a Facebook group for transverse myelitis sufferers. It’s a place to share advice on coping with this debilitating disorder. We comment on everything from pain medicines to the best doctors. I don’t want to miss any medical breakthroughs that will get me out of this wheelchair. Mostly, though, it is a place to vent. But I am not an addict.

I went to the pool in the afternoon.

Before I went, I checked the weather. I could have poked my head outside, but I checked the weather app. Might need a sweater. But I am not an addict.

You will be glad to know I didn’t take my iPad to the pool. I told you I am not an addict. However, when I got out of the pool, I immediately checked my iPhone for emails, text messages, news bulletins and stock prices.

Before dinner I read a book. Not an e-book, but a real book. I don’t read e-books on my iPad because it is too easy to become distracted and get immersed in news notifications, messages, emails or Facebook comments. But I am not an addict.

I kept my iPad close to me that night while watching television, but I only checked it during commercials. But I am not an addict.
Oh. I did watch “The Best Years of our Lives” on TCM and couldn’t remember the name of one of the actresses. I just had to know. I checked my iPad. Her name was Teresa Wright. But I am not an addict.

I can quit any time I want.

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)