Addicted to Tech
We’re constantly exposed to technology, whether from TV, cell phones, video games, tablets or social media. The pandemic certainly didn’t help in reducing screen time. In fact, according to Eyesafe Nielsen, the average screen time per person is now over 13 hours a day.
While devices and digital outlets can help us socialize and learn, they also often lead to a sedentary, inactive lifestyle, among other problems that can affect our daily lives. If you’re worried that you or your loved ones are spending too much time on your devices, here are signs to look for and how you can cut back on screen time.
How Much Time Is Too Much?
Digital overload is when you spend too much time on your devices and begin having trouble processing the amount of information you take in online, leading you to feel distracted, anxious, fatigued or even depressed.
While research has not quite figured out what our limit is when it comes to screen time, a study showed that after two hours online, people showed more symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In severe cases, people who use their devices too much may struggle with digital addiction. Digital addiction can affect social, personal, family, educational and occupational areas of life.
Digital addiction and device overuse is not just an issue that affects adults or teenagers; it also impacts children. When a child is in front of a screen, they are not doing the healthy, skill-building activities kids need for their brains and bodies to develop at a normal pace.
We may think we spend a “usual amount” of time on our devices and therefore dismiss any notion that we need to change our behavior. Carefully consider these signs you may be spending too much time on your devices:
- The first thing you do in the morning is check your phone.
- You fall asleep holding your phone.
- You feel anxious when your phone is not with you.
- You look for an outlet to charge your phone when you arrive somewhere.
- You look at your phone while talking to someone.
Plan to Cut Back on Screen Time
If you’re looking to cut back on screen time personally or as a family, the first step is to sit down and track your screen time. After a few weeks, determine goals and guidelines for when you’ll use your devices and for how long, and plan fun activities to do in place of spending time on your phone or computer. Ways to minimize digital overload:
- Create tech-free times and zones.
- Prioritize off-screen activities throughout your day.
- Set time limits for your screen time.
- Turn off unnecessary notifications
- Use only one device at a time.