Mom, what happened to our internet?

“Can we go sit in our car so I can go online?”

This was what a friend's daughter asked her when their home internet went down recently. The girl had seen a commercial touting a car’s ability to offer Wi-Fi to the passengers and she thought her family car could give her a quick fix!

To her daughter’s dismay, their family car didn’t have that feature nor did Jodi volunteer to offer Wi-Fi through hotspotting as it will use the precious monthly mobile data. Instead, her family got reacquainted with the joys of playing a board game, courtesy of the internet not coming back up for the night.

As a proponent of digital literacy for the aging demographic, it may sound odd that my wife and I, like Jodi, enforce limits on our son’s “screen time”; quick googling shows that we are not alone either. Many studies also show that too much screen time for kids – i.e. spending too much time in front of computers and other connected devices – can be detrimental to their health. For my wife and I, that alone is a reason to keep up our diligence in limiting screen time for our son.

Almost 25 years ago the New York Times wrote, "One of the technologies Vice President Al Gore is pushing is the information superhighway, which will link everyone at home or office to everything else – movies and television shows, shopping services, electronic mail and huge collections of data.” One look at our world today and it has become just that and even more. So in a way it is natural that we as a society will have more screen time than before. People say they would rather forget their wallet, with their driver's license, rather than their smartphone, but I digress.

Screen time for adults can become an issue too. We hope that adults can self-regulate their screen time better than a 10-year-old but even a grown-up can benefit from this tip: Avoid using your computer, tablet and smartphone in bed or right before going to bed at night.

Science has proven that the blue light emitted by these screen is harmless during the daytime, but at night, especially when your body is ready for bed, it continues to keep you alert and awake.

No matter how hard I try to avoid using a tablet or smartphone in bed, there are times when I can’t put down a good ebook or need to finish an email. To protect my eyes and avoid being an insomniac, I use an app called “EyeFilter - Bluelight” that filters out the harmful blue light at night on my Android devices. For Apple devices such as an iPhone or iPad, you can enable and schedule the “NightShift” option that Apple provides in their iOS to the same effect.

I do wonder if Jodi chose to delay telling her daughter when the home internet was back up ... I would have!

Tak Sato

Strategist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder and strategist for the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors through technology, and founder of geek with a heart with the service mark "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 9:50 AM, 11.07.2017