By Annabel Thomas
Netflix’s new documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ has been a huge talking point over the past few weeks. It has been a hot topic in the office and we would strongly recommend giving it a watch if you haven’t already! The Netflix documentary focuses on the highly addictive nature of smartphones and social media with some of the creators behind Facebook and other social media networks discussing the darker sides to the technologies they helped develop.
Social media can be a hugely positive tool for helping people connect, a platform for marketing and for spreading positive social change through movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, the negative sides of technology are becoming ever more apparent. The average person spends a scary 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone and with the prevalence of fake news, online trolling and an addiction to social media causing a rise in mental health problems; it is time we took some healthy time out. Here are our tips for having a digital detox and becoming more present in life offline!
Setting timers on the apps you use the most is a great way to limit your usage. We bet if you checked your average daily screen time you would be surprised! Having a 15 minute daily allowance for your most-used apps could dramatically reduce your screen time whilst allowing you to keep up in the digital world.
The social dilemma revealed some of the ways social media companies keep us constantly engaged. Receiving constant updates and notifications is one way they keep you reaching for your device. While this can be occasionally informative, it is equally very distracting and not always relevant. Try and turn off as many notifications as you can to limit the constant need to check your phone.
How many times have you been watching Netflix and had your phone in the other hand scrolling through Facebook or doing some online shopping? We are all guilty of it, however, multitasking on various devices is detrimental for our concentration and enjoyment. Try and be present in what you are doing and enjoy one activity at a time!
There is a reason smartphones are so colourful, the apps and notifications are designed to be visual tools that keep us engaged. Setting your screen to greyscale can limit how appealing you find your phone. It may be hard to have it set to black & white 24/7 but you could try an hour in the morning and evening to give yourself some time out.
Simply putting your phone in another room, on aeroplane mode or even ‘forgetting’ it at home can be an easy way to enjoy some time offline. The more you do this, the easier it’ll become and you’ll find yourself enjoying a meal out, walk in the park and time with friends even more without your phone.
We are all guilty of some late-night scrolling in bed but this can have a really negative impact on our sleep. Even a quick check on social media at night can engage your brain and delay the onset of sleep. Set some healthy boundaries around screens and sleep such as scheduling a ‘wind-down’ mode an hour before bed. Try sleeping with your phone on the other side of your bedroom or in another room so you aren’t tempted to reach for it in the night.
Having a ‘digital detox’ doesn’t have to mean never using your phone again or deleting all your social media accounts! You can take simple steps to reduce your dependence on digital devices and reduce your screen time. The aim is to enjoy life offline and be more present in what you are doing. Take a look at the tips and tricks on the social dilemma website and for more information about social media companies and protecting your data.