Liberation from Social Media

“In the course of making a podcast together, a woman from Silicon Valley talked to me about her family. She had become concerned that her children were in danger of becoming addicted to social media. Their use of it was harming their social skills. They weren’t fully attending to other people. They always had half a mind on their smartphones. The time they spent on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media was absorbing their energies and robbing them of sleep. Even when the family was sharing meals, they were still texting friends, their phones on their laps underneath the table. After discussion, the family agreed that there was a problem and that they would deal with it together. The decision they took, she said to me, was that they would have one screen-free day a week – no phones, no tablets, no laptops, just face-to-face communication, being together. ‘You will like the name we gave the day,’ she said. ‘We’ve decided to call it Shabbat.’ She was right. I enjoyed the irony. Thirty-three centuries ago, Moses liberated the Israelites from slavery to Egypt. Now, the same institution is liberating young people from slavery to smartphones. We need such liberation.”

Morality, Chapter 3, p. 49