Op-Ed: 7 steps to cut down on your tech habits
By Julia A. Fernández
Special to News is my Business
Tech addiction is real. And it is spreading at a rapid pace all over the world. Teenagers and adults alike are addicted to screens, and Puerto Rico is no exception. You would find people, particularly teenagers, engrossed in their phones oblivious to their surroundings.
Technology has strengthened its roots in Puerto Rico in the last couple of years. People are connected more than ever and that, too, all day long. Sadly, we have become too dependent on our smartphones to get through our daily lives. Did you know that more than 40% of us check our phones within five minutes of getting up from sleep? And almost half of us check about 25 times in a day, says a Deloitte study.
Screen addiction has become a real thing, and if you think technology has made its place in your life more than it should, here are seven steps to cut down on your tech habits.
1. Understand that willpower is not enough
Now, one might think that turning off
the computer and putting away your phone is the best way to begin. Easier said
than done. You may not be successful in controlling your urge to check
notifications on different social media apps.
These apps are built in such a way so that you cannot resist the temptation. You would have to set rules, establish limits, and make sure that you stick to them, or there are going to be consequences. Be it you or your kid, ensure that you follow rules.
2. There shouldn’t be lazy idle moments
Waiting at the bus stop? Let’s scroll down the newsfeed. Sitting in the doctor/dentist’s lounge lets WhatsApp. Sounds familiar? Whenever we are idle and doing nothing, in particular, we reach out for our phones. Phones have become the means to avoid real human interaction.
So, make a list of things you can do whenever you are idle. This way, rather than scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, you do something worthwhile. Your first impulse is to touch your phone when you have a quiet moment. You can do many things instead. You could stretch, meditate, write something, take a walk, or do anything that does not involve technology. How about making a call to a friend or someone in the family?
3. Using tech could help you cut down
Find that hard to believe? It is the truth. There are many software and apps that tell you how many times you have used social media, played a game, and also warn you if you spend too much on your phone.
However, for your kids, you can use Xnspy – an ideal monitoring app that lets you control your child’s digital footprints. You can see all that they do on the internet along with their text message, emails, multimedia, locations, calls, and a lot more. You can view the installed apps and see the web browsing history too. And block sites you think are not suitable.
Xnspy comes with many remote functions so you can shut down the phone or lock it if your child is wasting time on the phone during study time.
4. Start with baby steps
Over time, digital detox has become quite common. Many people are doing it. For most, it might seem like an impossible feat. But it is possible. You must start small. For example, you can begin with no phones during meals, not using the phone for three to four hours straight, or not checking it the moment you wake up. There is a need to set regular limits you can follow easily.
5. Turn off those notifications
One might not be wrong in calling the smartphone a small version of a slot machine. The apps and social media platforms are designed in such a way that you keep going back for more. Their use increases the dopamine receptors that make you happy and want more. So, turn off notifications. This way, the constant pings won’t distract you, and you are less likely to check your phone every few minutes.
6. You have to Unplug before bed
Make sure that you unplug all the tech devices before sleeping. Our smartphones and tablets emit a blue light that hinders melatonin production — the darkness hormone. You need it so that your brain gets the signal it’s time to unwind and sleep.
7. Plan tech breaks
Make a timetable for technology breaks. Set limits during work hours as well as when you get back home. Again, start small. Say, you take a break for half-hour then gradually increase to an hour and maybe, two hours? When the time comes for tech break, put your phone out of sight and out of reach.
And during those minutes, do something you enjoy doing. Or just complete any chores or errands.
Hope these tips help you cut down on your tech use this year!