‘On The Couch’ With Jasminda News Of The Area Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 1, 2020 Dear Jasminda, We are having a week without social media with our kids. How should we entertain ourselves? Mrs Karen B. Dear Karen, I can totally understand you wanting a break from social media, and with the hard time Karens of Australia have had lately, a break makes a lot of sense. Hopefully by the time you return, Bunnings Karen will have been replaced with BCF David or Kmart Kellie and you can put away those name-change documents you’ve been toying with. The thing is, many of us are old enough to remember LBI, and by that I don’t mean Long Beach Island or Lower Back Injury or Leveraged Buy In, but Life Before Internet. It was a time when we practiced mindfulness all the time. It was called ‘Mum’s locked me out of the house again’. We sniffed salty air instead of multi-level-marketing oil blends and we took the occasional dodgy photo rather than having our lives constantly compared to everyone with an ego, a library of filters and twenty different pouts. It was accepted that we could quite happily exist without needing to be stimulated ever 20 seconds. Entertainment consisted of making mixed tapes and the Paddlepop Lick-a-Prize which no one ever won but we did eat our body weight in Paddle Pops every summer. We’ve lost sight of each other because we are too busy scrolling, and not only are we ending up with dodgy eyes and dodgy necks, but we’re seeing a whole lot of stuff that we probably could survive, and survive well, without. As an experiment, here are a few moments of my social media feed for your entertainment. From the top: Sam Newman is irresponsible. Now I have to find out why. Arrgh, he’s suggesting a protest. Now I’m thinking about protests. Hang on, my friend is having a birthday, which I wouldn’t have known about but for social media; now I have to find the appropriate GIF and so I am scrolling through cats wearing birthday hats, chubby babies dancing, fireworks, my brain is exploding. Ah, that’s better, a seaside post – rolling waves. No, it’s a travel memory and I’ve remembered the borders are closed and I’m feeling despondent. Hang on, there’s a local fundraiser for a child I don’t know with a disease I’ve never heard of. Now I am Googling the disease and getting out my credit card which is already seriously depleted due to previous donations to rehomed horses and koalas . . . but wait . . . a German hacker has turned sausages into a working piano. Oh wow. Did you know it is Clancy the Labrador’s birthday? I don’t know Clancy; he lives in Florida (nice to know Clancy’s still kicking when over 11,000 people have lost their lives there due to Covid-19 – it’s great dogs can’t get it . . . can they?). Did I need to know any of that stuff? No. Could I have coped better without it. Probably. So, Karen, I commend you on your social media hiatus and I think if you and your family just head outside, your brains and bodies will thank you. In fact, I’m going to stop typing and do the same just as soon as I look at this video of a blind cat that can play chopsticks after its owner transformed the piano keys with braille made out repurposed milk bottle lids. Oh, it’s adorable. You should . . . No, don’t do it, Karen. Carpe diem, Jasminda.