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Computers, TVs, smartphones and other digital devices are part of our day to day lives, and without them work and study would be near impossible. However, excess use of screen time can be detrimental for our health and wellbeing. For example, studies have shown that extended hours on digital media in childhood can lead to obesity, sleep disturbances, academic problems and difficulties paying attention.1
A 2016 survey has revealed that Australians spend an average of 46 hours a week looking at their screens, but only six hours with family and friends.2 Even though it is unrealistic to aim for no screen time in your life, there are ways to limit the amount of time spent on your devices and to reap the benefits in doing this.
Track screen time
Tracking the amount of time you spend on your device can be easily set up on your phone, however this can be an eye opener for most of us. Another way to track your device usage, while also improving your productivity, is to use apps that provide a virtual reward for time spent off the phone. These apps can include Forest or Flora, as they plant a virtual tree for every time you set a specific amount of time away from your device.
There are also ways to limit your children’s screen time and the content they are exposed to. This can include downloading apps that block certain sites or setting a timer for the amount of time spent on the device. It’s recommended in Australia that children should not have screen time for more than 2 hours per day.3 In addition, if your child is younger than 2 years of age, no screen time is recommended.3
Establish a phone/device free zone
Establishing a time during your day or an area in your home that is phone free can help reduce the amount of hours you spend on your digital devices, allowing you to have more quality time with family and friends. The dinner table is a great place to start for a phone free zone, as this is a great opportunity to reconnect with your family and friends.
Turn off notifications
It can be hard to look away from your phone if you are constantly getting notifications. Turning all social media and other non-essential notifications off can help reduce this distraction. While checking a notification may take a couple of seconds, research shows that when it’s repeated often, it can lead to a 40% loss in productivity.4
Leave your phone behind
Head outside for a walk or a hike and leave your device at home. This can help you connect with nature and your community without feeling distracted by your smartphone.
Overall, the goal shouldn’t be to stop using your smart devices but to build a healthy relationship with digital media instead. This can be done by setting boundaries and routines around your usage, which can help improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Blog post written by Complete Corporate Wellness. Visit their website: www.completecorporatewellness.com.au