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Covid-19 has had drastic effects on our lives. It has resulted in a surge of smartphone users by 30% in the UK only. The global shift to an online life has not been easy, and most of us are still adjusting to it. As our routines trample, the concept of being “out of office” is becoming more and more obsolete. This is why excessive screen time may affect your health, physically and emotionally, and you might not even know about it. Smartphone addiction is real, and the current pandemic has aided in this more than ever.
It is essential to manage kids’ screen time as well. Teenagers and kids have severe cell phone addiction these days, whether it’s playing video games or scrolling through social media. It has drastic effects on their mental growth, as they get exposed to content that is not suitable for them. All the more reason why screen time rules should apply to kids as well! If you’re struggling to limit screen time, either for yourself or your family, here are some tips.
Limit screen use during meal time
Kids and adults do not start their meals unless the Netflix intro music plays in the background, and rightly so. We are so addicted to the concept of watching something while we eat that we cannot imagine having family meals the traditional way. But this seems to be the right time to bring back small talk.
Utilize at least one meal of the day without screens. Use this time to talk about your day, your kid’s or other family members’ day, and other things you won’t usually talk to your family about. Take small steps and increase the number of meals eaten without screens every month.
Since the pandemic hit, work and home spaces are overlapping and not for good. Office hours have swept into whatever little family life some of us had, and it’s definitely not worth it. If your office hours end at a specific time, make it known that you will NOT be available after that said time. At this time, it would also be easier to send out a mass message, either subtly stating your office hours or just politely telling your colleagues that you will not be checking your email during certain hours.
Use Phone Alerts
Most phones come with built-in features that alert the user about their data usage. Some even come with features to notify you about your screen time usage. Applications such as Instagram now detects how much time you spend on it. As technology extends its hand in favor to help you, use it. Use these features to alert you of our usage in terms of time and try self-constraint!
You can start by setting limits. If your phone shows your daily usage to be 6 hours, then put a daily limit of 5 hours for a week and continue decreasing the amount of time. You can also keep the specific applications you use a lot and set time limits on them. Recently, when iOS 12 came out, it also introduced the feature of Apple screen time and how many times you check your phone, which has, in turn, helped users manage it efficiently.
Start Manually Managing
While technology may help this, try not falling back so much on something you are trying to cut down on and instead exercise that brain! Set goals for yourself and your family. Start with early morning and bedtime.
For instance, try not using your phone for the first hour of the day and the last two hours before you sleep. This is, of course, minus alarms. Use this technique to manually cut down to the time you spend being lazy in the morning, and when you’re losing precious hours of sleep at night scrolling Twitter. And lastly,
Step Away from the Screen
Most of us think “relaxing” is synonymous with watching movies or idly scrolling through ZARA, but that is not it. While it might help some people relax, watching movies still exercises your brains. Surfing the internet not only exhausts your eyes, but you are also regularly taking in information and not exactly taking a “break.” Creating an unplugged room is one of the best tips to step away from your screen, as mentioned in this blog by Porch.
So now, try taking a step back. Try laying down on the couch and stare at the ceiling. Go for a walk, or you can even sit on your porch and stare into the abyss.
Do something entirely mindless to relax in these pressing times truly. Humans invented technology to ease their tasks, but the dent it has put on the upcoming generations and their growth is evident.
As individuals, we should be aware of tech and cell phones’ impacts on our daily lives. Of course, everything has its pros and cons, but we should always avoid abusing technology to the extent that it starts putting our healthy lives at risk. Limiting screen time is definitely not an easy task, but it will help us be more productive.