It’s time for digital detox. (You know you need it.)

When is it enough?

Even after the presidential election, we are still destined for pessimistic news about the coronavirus surge. The rest of my daily life is probably like me while at home in a pandemic. It is divided into streaming movies on Netflix, watching remodeled videos on YouTube, and playing video games. All of these activities involve staring at the screen.

I need more life. Now that the holiday season has arrived, it’s a good time to take a break and consider digital detox.

No, that doesn’t mean quitting the cold turkey on the internet. So far, no one expects it from us. Think of it as dieting, replacing bad habits with healthier habits, and giving tired eyes the very necessary downtime from technology.

Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of “iGen,” said: A book of the younger generation who grew up in the smartphone era.

According to experts, too long a screen time can have a negative impact on mental health, resulting in loss of sleep and productive tasks. I am experiencing this as an example. Before the pandemic, the average daily screen time on mobile phones was three and a half hours. In the last eight months, it has almost doubled.

So I sought advice from a psychologist. From setting limits to searching for alternatives to sticking to your phone, this is what we can do.

Not all usage times are bad. After all, many students go to school via video conferencing apps. Therefore, step 1 is to evaluate which part of the screen time is toxic and makes you unhappy. It may be reading news or scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. Step 2 is to create a realistic plan to minimize the consumption of bad things.

You can set conservative goals, such as a 20-minute daily time limit for reading news on weekends. If you feel it is feasible, shorten the time limit and make it your daily goal. Repeating helps you form new habits.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Adam Gazaray, a neuroscientist and co-author of the book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, recommended creating almost any calendar event, such as browsing the web or taking a break. This will help you create the structure.

For example, you can block at 8am, read the news for 10 minutes, and ride an exercise bike for 20 minutes from 1pm. If you want to pick up your phone during an exercise break, you’ll notice that the screen time violates the time spent exercising.

Most importantly, treat screen time like a candy that you can sometimes enjoy yourself. Don’t think of it as a break, as it may be the opposite of relaxing you.

“Not all breaks are made the same,” said Dr. Gazarei. “If you take a break and enter a social media or news program, it can be difficult to get out of that rabbit hole.”

You need to charge your smartphone overnight, but that doesn’t mean the device needs to be next to us while we sleep. According to Dr. Twenge, many studies have shown that people who have a phone in their bedroom have poor sleep.

Smartphones are harmful to our sleep in many ways. The blue light from the screen can trick our brains into thinking it’s daytime, and some of the content we consume, especially the news, can be psychologically inspiring and keep us awake. There is sex. Therefore, it is best not to look at the phone within an hour before bedtime. In addition, if the phone is nearby, you may be tempted to wake up in the middle of the night to check.

“My best advice is not to call the bedroom overnight, which is for adults and teens,” said Dr. Twenge. “Please install a charging station outside the bedroom.”

You can create other no-phone zones outside your bedroom. For example, a supper seat is a great opportunity for a family member to clear up the phone for at least 30 minutes and agree to reconnect.

High-tech products have designed many mechanisms to keep us glued to the screen. For example, Facebook and Twitter have created a timeline to allow endless scrolling of updates to maximize the time spent on the site.

Adam Alter, a marketing professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” says technology companies are adopting behavioral psychology techniques. It says it will make us crazy. Their product.

He emphasized two major hooks:

  • Artificial goal. Like video games, social media sites create goals to keep users interested. This includes the number of likes and followers you’ve earned on Facebook and Twitter. problem? The goal is never achieved.

  • Friction-free media. Not to mention endless Facebook and Twitter scrolling, YouTube will automatically play the next recommended video. As you read the last page of the book, he said, “before all experiences end naturally.” “One of the biggest things tech companies have done is to get rid of clues to stop.”

What should I do? As a starting point, you can resist the hook by keeping it out of the way of the phone. Turn off notifications for all apps except those that are essential for keeping in touch with your work and loved ones. If you feel addicted, take extreme steps to switch your phone to grayscale mode.

There are also simpler exercises. It can be remembered that much of what you do online is not important outside of work. It’s time to spend better elsewhere.

“The difference between 10 likes and 20 likes is all meaningless,” said Dr. Alter.

It’s time for digital detox. (You know you need it.)

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