In the modern time and age we live in, social media and technology has become a big part of our lives.

Most of us use a computer or phone at work or school. Then we get home, do our chores, and sit down before either a computer or television. Our kids get eaten off with a I-pad or told to go watch a movie – and when they get old enough to get their own computer of phone, they are impossible to get away from it.

In the midst of all this social media time we forget to take time to be ourselves, get to know each other and overall enjoy our lives.

On this note, you can actually get addicted to social media, and this could reap lots of bad effects.

An average a person spends 145 minutes a day ONLY on social media, and that number has risen quite a bit ( in 2012 we used “only” 90 minutes) – this is according to the website statista.com (https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/)

Another quite scary statistic is how many hours in a week we in general use the internet. On average we use 25,1 hour a week (2019) compared to 2005 where we used about 10 – this is also according to statista.com (https://www.statista.com/statistics/300201/hours-of-internet-use-per-week-per-person-in-the-uk/) May I just remind you that this is more than one whole day a week, and equals 54 days in a year… almost two months a year. Do you know how much you can do in two months? I don’t even dare think about it.

These two statistics scare the socks off me. More than two hours used only on social media is a lot if it is not your job – of course it is understandable that we need to keep in touch with friends and family (especially if they are far away) but TWO hours?

I am going to sound very old here, but when I was young if we wanted to connect to our friends, we send them a text and made a playdate. We did not stalk each other on social media and only send each other memes. Of course, I cannot wash my hands 100% clean here – I also use quite a bit of time both online and on social media sending dank memes, browsing apps, and watching videos. But knowing what social media can do is the first step to cutting down or cutting it out.

Some of the things you might experience if you spend a lot of time online is:

You get stressed:

Being online almost 24/7 can stress your brain out quite some. If you work all day with a computer, seeing a screen might take a toll on you, as it signals “it’s working time”. This also counts for any work, when you get home, take time to get away from work – not to seek it.

You do not have enough time:

Time seems to fly by when looking at a screen and enjoying your time, and somehow hours can pass before you realize that you could have used your time in another way, or that the day has simply passed. As said before; 25 hours a week on the internet- more than one day – that is a lot of time you could have used doing something you really want to.

Your health declines:

The great postures you have when using the internet can often hurt you more than do good. There is a reason it is recommended to get up every hour, stand if you can, and change position. Hunching in over a desk, straining your neck to watch your phone. Both eyes and brain are strained too when trying to concentrate on either a too small, too blurry, or too dark screen. It is a good idea to get some exercise when you can – take a walk, bike, or just stand up and do some squats. If you sit in front of a screen all day, it might be a good idea to do some yoga as it helps your posture and flexibility to prevent you going stiff.

Your mental health declines:

Especially social media may give feelings of loneliness, jealousy, or dissatisfaction. Constantly seeing other people’s great lives can give you a feeling of missing out and feeling worth less than others. It can be hard enjoying what you have when you see how much others seem to have.

You might miss special moments:

Spending your time looking at your devices (especially the phone), might derive you of special moments with your family or friends.

On the same note, you get the opposite benefits:

  • Less stress
  • More time
  • Better mental health
  • Better physical health
  • You may enjoy special moments more

So how do we make sure we unplug and take time away from the screens?

Well here are some ideas for what you could consider doing:

  • Have a curfew – the use of technology should stop about one hour before going to bed. This way you will get mentally ready to sleep, get time to relax and perhaps get some good habits in – like reading before bed or doing another low-energy activity.

  • Delete your social media – not necessarily all of them, but at least the ones you either don’t use, or only use “because they are there”.

  • Set a time limit – most phones at least can be used to set a time limit on what apps and games you use and play. The same applies to television and computer use. If you know you have 30 minutes or 1 hour to do something, set a timer to keep yourself on track.

  • Play a board game – if you want to play a game, but you want to switch it up a bit, try playing a board game with either your family or friends. Yes; it is possible to meet up with your friends just to play a game – that is what Dungeon & Dragons players have done for years!

  • Take a walk – physically removing yourself from your electronics might be the “easiest” way to unplug yourself, or detox from electronics. You get exercise, fresh air, and fight against the “computer body” a lot of people get by sitting in front of the screen. If you are not much for walks, do any other physical activity and you are sure to get some time away from the screen (and no, I do not count WII FIT as a physical activity)

  • Take up a new hobby or dive into an already existing one – spending time on something you love is a great way to make sure you spend your time “wisely” and get away from the electronics (unless of course your hobby happens on the screen- in that case; try a new hobby)

  • Distance yourself from your phone – putting it in another room or telling someone to keep it for you until you are done with your chores/homework/etc. might be a good idea, as including someone else who is not invested in your “problem” might help you stick to your word. Putting it away or leaving it in another room will help you connect a lot more with the people you are with when for example eating dinner, having a break at school/work, or watching a movie (yeah I know this is also a screen, but I don’t even want to think about how many people sit with their phone when trying to do something with others).

  • Turn off notification – it’s amazing how much less you look at your phone if you do not get notifications

  • Unsubscribe from people who does not do you good – though this still happens on your device, it will increase the quality of the time you use online. Only being subscribed to people who makes you happy, inspires you, and makes you motivated can better the feeling you have when being online.

That it is – something for you to think about. I hope you feel enlightened and encourage to get some unplug, at least once in a while.

I hope you all have a happy life, one day at a time.

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