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Navigating Life's Journey Blog

Helping others navigate this journey of Life!

A weekly blog from the Family & Consumer Sciences Department

Unplug From Technology: When You Can

by Rachel Chaney - September 25, 2017

Think about your fondest memories. What did you enjoy about the memory? Was technology involved? Technology has enhanced our lives greatly, but it can also keep us from interacting with others. Have you ever been out with someone who was always on their phone? How did it feel? Sadly, we have probably all been that person at one point or another.

Young boy in front of television
 

Quick Guide: Unplug From Technology Infographic

Think about your fondest memories.

What did you enjoy about the memory?

Was technology involved?

Technology has enhanced our lives greatly, but it can also keep us from interacting with others. Have you ever been out with someone who was always on their phone? How did it feel? Sadly, we have probably all been that person at one point or another.

According to CNN, a report from Nielsen shows that the average American spends 10 plus hours per day on tablets, smartphones, and other technology. According to “Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance” report by Common Sense Media, teens spend about 9 hours and tweens (ages 8 to 12) spend around 6 hours per day on technology. Technology has its pros and cons when it comes to relationships. In one way it can enhance our relationships by giving us a chance to communicate with those that we may not see very often.  In another way, it can keep us on our technology which means fewer face to face conversations. Research is now showing that this isn’t just a problem with our children or the younger generations, but problematic technology use reaches across all age levels.

Overuse of technology and perhaps even addiction can be hard for people to grasp due to technology being engrained throughout our everyday life. Do you realize the amount of time per day that you are on technology? Does technology run your life? Below are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are overusing technology. Feel free to also take the digital distraction test provided in the resources.

  • Do you lose track of time online?
  • Do you compulsively check for notifications on your devices?
  • Do you use technology as an escape?
  • Do you struggle to stay off technology?
  • Does technology get in the way of your responsibilities?
  • Do you get anxious when you do not have technology near you (like a phone)?

Being addicted to technology may sound crazy because in many ways we have to be plugged in for work, school, and etc. Did your answers to the questions above surprise you? While reading this article, have you started to feel like you may be overusing technology?

Here are some simple steps to do to start breaking free from technology:

Time Yourself: Keep a Media Diary and add up the time you spend on technology.

This will open your eyes to how much time you are truly spending on technology. It is easy to lose track of time when being on social media or playing a game.

Various apps are available to monitor time spent on your phone and other digital devices.
Tech Free Time: Have a set time or place where no technology is allowed.

In order to accomplish this try to set a time or place that works for everyone and make sure to enforce it. As adults, we lead by example so it is important for us to do this too.

Some people go as far as to put all technology (phones, TV remotes, and tablets) up in a designated box or basket.
 Try to enjoy at least one meal a week together with no technology
Balance It All: Find your balance between time connected and time unplugged. 

Now that you are aware of your problematic technology usage, it is time to find a good balance.

Decide an amount of time that you feel comfortable with being on technology and stick to it.
When you have hit your time limit put the technology away.
Turn off notifications or set your devices to “do not disturb” time. This will keep you from getting tempted to check your devices.
Always be conscientious of your time on technology to ensure that it is not getting in the way of your relationships and interactions.
While technology is important to our everyday life, it is also important for us to find time to unplug and enjoy life beyond the screen.

References:

 Americans at More than 10 Hours a Day on Screens

                                                                                  Digital Distraction Test by The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction

 Technology Addiction Research Brief by Common Sense Media

:A Review of Reserach on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

Generation X More Addicted to Social Media Than Millenials

 https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/the-common-sense-census-plugged-in-parents-of-tweens-and-teens-2016

 

Additional Resources to use on Social Media pages:

Plugged -In Parents: Attitudes, Behaviors,a nd Role Models

How much time do parents spend on their screens?

How Much Time Do We Spend on Social Media?

Dealing with Devices: The Parent- Teen Dynamic

 

 

 

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