Do You Need a Digital Detox?
Updated: Apr 30
There is so much “smart” technology in our lives, but did you ever stop and think, if technology is getting smarter, does that mean humans are getting dumber?
We utilize technology to our benefit in many different ways throughout the day. But if we think about it, do the positive benefits of technology use outweigh the negative effects?
The excessive use of technology negatively affects us physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Here are some of the ways that excessive screen time impacts us:
Impacts Social Skills
When we use our smartphone devices excessively, studies have shown it decreases our social skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence. When we communicate over technology, we lose the art of non-verbal communication. You know the good feeling you get after hanging up and speaking with a friend on the phone or going out for lunch? You can’t compare that feeling to the feeling after having a conversation with your friend over texting.
Impacts Sleep Quality
We all know the importance of sleep. Especially, good quality sleep where we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world. When we engage in extensive screen time and technology use, we can’t enjoy the effects of a good quality sleep. Instead, it causes us to suffer from impaired brain development and disrupted sleep. When our sleep quality is poor, it affects our relationships, how we act the next day and our ability to concentrate.
Impacts Physical Health
Excessive screen time also indirectly affects our physical health due to increased sedentary behavior. How many of us are on the treadmill or on a walk when we are on our mobile devices? Sedentary behavior can lead to a whole bunch of other problems such as obesity, increased heart problems and many more negative health outcomes.
So how can we reduce the effects that screen time has on us?
Here are a few strategies you can implement today to help you decrease your overall screen time:
While you are mindlessly engaged on your phone, try to take a moment to stop and think of what you could be accomplishing if you were not currently on your phone-interacting with family or friends, exercising or folding laundry.
Turning off notifications is another great idea to help decrease screen time. It will also help to keep you focused on the task you are busy with.
Call someone instead of texting them! You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how good a real live conversation can make you feel!
Remove screens during mealtime. You will enjoy the taste, smell, and appearance of your food so much more.
Resist taking your phone with you to the bathroom. Besides for the germs involved when you do this, it will help reduce your screen time.
Read a book instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media
Pick up a new hobby that does not require a screen!
Try to turn off all of your devices at least an hour before you go to sleep
Use an actual alarm clock instead of using your phone as an alarm clock
Leave your phone in a different room, or at least not right next to your bed when you go to sleep
The bottom line is that with the advancement of “smart” technology, we are not utilizing our brainpower as much as we should. It may be difficult at first to implement strategies to reduce your screen time, however, with time, you will feel the positive difference physically, mentally, and psychologically!
Learn more about reducing your screen time and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Michal Abish, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
4. Mayo Clinic