Reducing screen time

With social distancing in effect, many of the social aspects and opportunities of our daily lives have been halted. Our busy schedules and deadlines are put on hold and are replaced with vast amounts of time where we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Naturally, then many of us turn to our devices to keep us occupied and replace this social aspect with online alternatives. This could lead to an alarming dependency on our devices, as we continually check our notifications and grow less invested in the world around us. Here are a few tips that might help manage this dependency.

Healthier forms of screen-time

The worst kind of screen-time you can participate in are the types that isolate you from others and add no value to your participation. For many young people, this usually means spending time in your bedroom on your phone scrolling through six different platforms of social media.

Personally, I believe that you should benefit from your screen-time one way or another. For example, try replacing TikTok videos with more educational or creative content regarding your passion and interests and apply what you’ve learned.

Better yet, spend your screen-time watching a movie with your family (or friends) to help relieve the effects of social isolation. Being involved in the RIGHT forms of screen-time not only adds value but can actually help motivate individuals to get OFF their devices to socialize or apply themselves towards their passion.

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Adopt a screen-free hobby

A relatively straightforward tip. However, if you have ever had a particular hobby that you lost touch with in recent years and have always wanted to invest more time in, now is a perfect time!

While there is a level of uncertainty going around right now, getting all this time to yourself can be a rare opportunity to invest in yourself and learn something new! Reading, painting, baking, and so on, there are a variety of interesting hobbies you can dive into that do not require the use of technological devices.

USE the devices to MANAGE the devices

There are many apps online that help you manage and limit the time you spend on your phone. You can turn off unimportant notifications and many apps can even lock you out of your phone for an allotted period of time to help you resist any temptations!

While these apps are incredibly handy during studying they can also help you limit your personal dependency on your devices and can act as a well-needed barrier between you and the online world (at least for a short time).

Other types of apps can even record exactly how much time you are spending on your phone. This accurate visualization and understanding of how much time is being spent on devices might be the motivation you need to do something about your screen-time.

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Designate Device-Free Areas and Times

For example, a simple rule of ‘no phones in the living rooms or dining areas’ or ‘no devices between 4-6 PM’ that is enforced for the whole household could help break the habits of valueless screen-time.

If you want to take it a level further, you can even go as far as shutting off the WIFI router during this time to help resist any temptation. While it could be considered a heavy-handed measure, a temporary household-ban on devices can help promote a sense of solidarity in managing screen-time together as well as set concrete limits to device-use.

Technology is a wonderful tool that allows us access to all types of information that previous generations never had access to. However, with the advent of social media, this very same technology could turn into a hole that we can never seem to dig ourselves out of unless we hold ourselves accountable.