In a recent study, 50% of teens said they feel addicted to their phones. Almost 80% of teens said they check their phones every hour, and 72% said they felt they have to respond to texts and social media messages immediately. Too much screen time is correlated with higher rates of obesity, sleep difficulty, poorer performance in school, and even difficulties communicating. You don’t have to cut out screen time all together, but implementing a few new habits to limit screen time can make a big difference.
- Cultivate offline connections in addition to online
Social media is great because it helps us connect with one another, which we all crave. However, it’s important to remember that in-person connections can be of equal or more value. Schedule hangouts with friends where you focus on spending time with each other or doing an activity together, instead of sitting next to each other and scrolling through your phones.
- Use apps to limit phone time
It seems counterintuitive to manage your technology use by using technology, but there are tons of apps out there to help you keep track and lower your addiction to technology. For example, Offtime blocks distracting apps like games or social media, but gives you access to the things you need like email. It has specific modes for different times of day, like “Work” mode or “Me-Time” mode, so you can customize what you have access to depending on your needs. If you want to full-on commit to time off your phone, Flipd locks your phone for a set period of time and cannot be unlocked until time is up.
- Do more outdoor activities
We often default to our phones when we have idle time and nothing else to focus on. By planning out fun activities outdoors, you’ll be forced off your phone. Join a sports team or club where you have to leave your phone on the sidelines. Go for walks, bike rides, or hikes with a friend and put your phone away in a bag. Not only will you be breaking your technology addiction, but you’ll be getting positive benefits from physical activity, fresh air, and sunshine.
- Turn off notifications
Turning off notifications can often feel like going through some sort of withdrawal. This is because getting notifications on our phones actually gives us a surge of dopamine. Because we’re “rewarded” with notifications, we get in the habit of coming back for more. By turning off notifications, you’re deciding to take a step out of that cycle and find pleasure in other rewards.
- Read more physical books
Instead of reading on your phone, leave your phone in the other room and curl up with a real book for just 30 minutes a day. Reading outside in a park or by the pool is even better. You might find you get hooked on the book and want to keep reading even longer.
Test out some of these tips and see just how addicted to technology you really are! Try making it a competition with your friends or family to see who can go the longest without their phones.