If you are reading this, Merry Christmas! Now get off your phone/tablet/computer and feel the freedom of true digital disconnection.
Yep, it’s that time again where I, a self-confessed futurist and technology blogger, explain why it’s important to take a break from the very screen you’re reading this on.
A recent study by The Children’s Society has found that 1 in 4 teenagers couldn’t enjoy Christmas without some sort of connection to social media. It’s an alarming trend, and one that casts a rather narcissistic shadow over the whole affair - with 31% of 13-17-year-olds polled saying social media use over Christmas makes them ungrateful for the presents they get, as they become envious about others who receive more gifts.
More worryingly, 13% said they use social media more at Christmas to feel less alone, which is a rather oxymoronic statistic given the togetherness of the festive period.
Add to this a correlation of degrading wellbeing and happiness with increased screen time and you have quite the potent cocktail of self-destructive anxiety and stat-based festive judgment.
There's enjoyment to be had in taking a selfie with your nan, but don't let it take priority over genuine connections. I see no problem in taking a picture of your inevitably gorgeous dinner, but don't let your food photography impede any real table conversation. By all means, take a quick look through your timeline and see what friends have been up to; but don't ignore the emerging games of Uno or Monopoly by mindlessly scrolling.
At no point is this a suggestion that Christmas is being killed by millennials. I am not the Daily Mail. But it’s easy to see just how this rather important day - be it for religious reasons or simply being a day of reconnecting with loved ones, or even just a day off from stresses of the every day - dissolves as you fall victim to the hidden digital encouragement of living your life to the standards of someone else.
You lose yourself. And I don’t want that for you.
I will be taking a break over the next week, to enjoy the holidays with my family in the picture, my friends (also my family) and my girlfriend - who has somehow managed to deal with me over these last few weeks of UK Blog Awards campaigning!
So please, make your holiday season as merry as possible and stay away from the screens.
Unless you’re getting a new game. I’m not a monster.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.