The August challenge >>>
Give up some screen time!
Take some time to look at your screen time habits and make a plan to cut it down or cut it out!
Tell me more...
It's hard to argue with the idea that screen time is in general bad for us as individuals and as a community of human beings. You only have to ride on a train, bus or tube and look around and see how addicted we are to them (us included!). As we connect to the internet we disconnect from those around us, friends, family, kids.
So much of our life is based around technology these days. Many of us spend hours of the day in front of a computer only to go home to relax and watch a film or TV show, play a game or even do some extracurricula learning, research our favourite topic or even to communicate with friends and family who do not live close by.
Our brains are bombarded by digital and there are neurobiological mechanisms at work to reinforce and reward us for using them. Everytime we pick up our phone to check if we have a message, everytime someone likes our post we get a littel hit of dopamine, the rewarding neurotransmitter involved in every habit forming drug out there. And there is growing interest in researching smartphone usage and it's relationship to our wellbeing and mental health.
In particular blue light emitted from computers, tablets, digital notebooks, smartphones and even flat screen TVs can lead to difficulties getting off to sleep and impact the quality of sleep we get. This appears to be a particular problem for kids and teenagers as their eyes are more sensitive to the effects of blue light. See what the sleep foundation has to say about it.
This is going to be a bit personal to you depending on how much technology is in your life and how much your life depends on it (if you work in IT it might be hard to give up screens all day!) so remember to take some time to define, share and do. Here are some basic ideas to get you started. Feel free to try one or multiple ideas, or make up your own and share with your group:
- Give up ALL screens two hours before you normally like to be asleep, so if this is 11pm that's no screen time (phones, computers, TVs) after 9pm (this is recommended for good sleep hygiene anyway ;).
- No screens in the bedroom.
- Don't take your phone to the bathroom (we know you do it!)
- No screens whilst you are eating your meals.
- Cut out using social media on your smart phone, delete the Apps you have (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and if you choose only look at them on your computer OR choose to cut one or all of them out all together for a whole month.
- Try a month with no TV, or only watching TV at the weekend.
- Leave your phone in your bag or pocket when you are with other people.
- Put your phone on airplane mode when you can.
- Go out for a few hours wihout your phone.
- Turn your phone off for a whole weekend.
- Check out this article for more about digital detox and some personal stories...
Take it a bit further...
Got not TV, don't use a computer at work,already taken to placing your phone away when you come home?
Firstly, lucky you! Now, have a think about any additional goals you would like to set yourelf. Do you feel you could go a whole week or month with no mobile phone at all?