Turn off the television, radio and disconnect from social media. There’s so many better ways to spend your time.
- Read a book or magazine.
- Take a walk or hike.
- Bake a cake.
- Be crafty.
- Play a game.
- Take a nap.
- Write a letter or note and actually mail it.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Organize your photos…both physical and digital photos.
- Listen to music.
- Watch a movie.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when news was relegated to a couple of hours a day. The morning started with the local newspaper retrieved from the front porch and twelve hours later we were watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news in thirty minutes. It was a nightly ritual. Then in 1980 everything changed. Walter Cronkite announced his impending retirement and CNN started broadcasting news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In order to attract viewers, news had to be sensationalized. After all, the goal was no longer to fill one thirty minute newscast, but 48 of these thirty minutes time slots. Breaking news. Breathless reporters. Interviews by telephone from eye witnesses. And in the quest to be the first to report, anything goes.
My first experience with this around the clock reporting was with the attempted assassination of President Reagan with the same footage cycled for hours, speculation about who was responsible and why, talking heads explaining the succession to the presidency, and worst of all, the erroneous reporting of the death of James Brady, White House Press Secretary. Other big stories like the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center attack warranted significant coverage, but most days stories that are barely newsworthy are magnified into major events…car chases, the O.J. Simpson trial, missing persons and celebrity gossip.
Worst of all, political campaigns and legislative shenanigans have become unbearable due to this emphasis on non-news, and we don’t just have to deal with CNN, but HLN, Fox News, MSNBC, and dozens of other 24/7 news outlets.
And it’s not just television, but talk radio full of one made up crisis after another. Everything’s overblown and scary requiring outrage. We now live in a country filled with angry, anxious, enraged people who feel they are under attack.
Unfortunately, we as individuals have created this paranoia as much as has the media. Facebook, Twitter and other social media which were once seen as ways for people to stay connected with one another have instead served as personal outlets of rage. Social media can be a friendly place for baby animal cams, but it’s more often a platform for bullying.
With this said, I’ve reverted to pre 1980…a morning paper, a 30 minute nightly newscast, no Facebook, no Twitter. It’s time to turn it off.
If you decide to join me and take a break from Facebook and Twitter, don’t forget to sign up for email notifications from Mom’s Monday Memo (on the right hand side of this page or scroll to the bottom of the page if viewing on a mobile device). You’ll receive an email when new blog posts are published.