Scavenger Hunts and Screen-Time

It was the 1996 annual Halton-wide scavenger hunt and one of our stops was at Easterbrook’s Hotdog stand in Aldershot, on the west side of Burlington. The object we had to find was an obscure menu item on the old board on the wall inside the restaurant.



Fast forward to 2019 and what does a scavenger hunt, an 84 year-old hotdog stand, social media and screen-time have in common? Lots.

A scavenger hunt has a purpose, an end-point – the win. The team that completes all of the required tasks in the fastest time, wins the race. Its structure is an exercise in efficiency. You have to stay on task, complete each step, and find the object that allows you to begin the next step. Rinse and repeat. You don’t take “scenic routes” or get distracted, or you’re out of the competition.

This brings me to social media and screen-time. Or rather, quality screen-time. Many folks don’t have a specific plan or an agenda or an end-point when they open up an app and begin scrolling. They jump into an app and scroll. They might start out with a reason and a level of intention but inevitably something other than what they were looking for grabs their attention and they jump over to that. Then off to another app and scroll some more. And compare, and scroll some more.

To be clear, there’s no judgement here; everyone uses social media for different reasons and expected outcomes. And all are valid. But many people express self-frustration with the endless time-suck that much of social media delivers. Yet they’re drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Every day. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So I equate quality screen-time to a scavenger hunt. The more you develop a plan that supports your intention and the reasons for them – and develop a purpose for your journey, the more effective you will be at achieving your objective. In other words, its structure is also an exercise in efficiency. Without it, you’re most likely all over the road, scrolling endlessly.

Be clear on why you’re online, execute your plan – and when you’ve achieved what it is you set out to do in a defined session, put your device away.

My two cents.

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