Did you know that collectively in the United States we check our smartphones eight billion times a day? The average individual checks his or her phone 46 times a day according to TIME magazine and a mobile consumer report survey conducted by Deloitte. This number is quite an increase from the last survey conducted in 2014. Another shocking statistic is that 81% of Americans spend time looking at their phones while in a face-to-face social situation.
Big Technology has been coined the next Big Tobacco. We are hooked and the effects of this excessive use of technology, especially social media, is proving to have detrimental consequences ranging from an increase in depression, stress, and anxiety and a decrease in real-life connections, social skills, productivity, sleep, and etiquette. Not to mention a high rate of car accidents due to texting and driving.
While there are obviously great benefits that go hand and hand with our technological advancements, there is definitely a dark side. “The brain is designed for making real-world connections with other humans and learning from real-world experiences. Anything that takes away from that reduces your well-being. So, the challenge is finding balance,” expresses Dave Morin a former Facebook executive who created a start-up called Sunrise to fight depression.
The good news though, you are in control of how you interact and use technology and are in control of how you let your children interact and use technology. There is a trend of turning away from technology that is beginning to take place though. While technology is here to stay and an integral part of our day-to-day lives, some of us are beginning to limit the amount of unnecessary or mindless technological activity that we are engaging in on a daily basis.
David Morin goes on to say that, “mindful relationships with anything are all about spending time intentionally. Set up your digital life so that you are in control of your attention—not technology companies.” Like any practice or habit, a mindful decision and commitment must be made.
Reducing your screen time will have immediate and long-lasting benefits. The more you participate in the real-world the more you will feel connected to it. Social media’s initial aim was to connect the world, but it seems to have done the opposite in many ways. It’s time to live our lives not just swipe through it.
A great app to help you reduce your smartphone screen time is Moment. Their motto is “put down your phone and get back to your life.” This app allows you to set the amount of time you are allowed to spend on your phone. It’s a good training tool if breaking the habit of continually being on your phone is proving to be too difficult.
This is a great trend to get on board with! See you in the real world!