Technological addiction, like the overuse of social media via mobile devices, should not be taken lightly. Its impact on mental health has been likened to drug addiction.
Without proper guidance, it is hard to know when enough is enough, when to tell yourself, “I’ve scrolled through enough Facebook and Instagram posts for one night and now it’s time to go to sleep.” Rarely will you utter those words to yourself. More often than not, you will continue to scroll through newsfeeds on a myriad of different platforms, all the while overlooking essential tasks such as school assignments and lectures.
Studies have shown that the overuse of technology can result in poor concentration, a reduction in academic performance and even depression (1). It can also jeopardise friendships where, one might perceive the other as not properly engaging in a conversation or social interaction.
At Ozford, we understand that viewing social media can be a good mood regulator, particularly after having a big day, however, consuming technology needs to be done in moderation. The uncanny resemblance to having a drink after a hectic shift for example, highlights similarities with substance regulators like alcohol. And like with substance, we need to take it easy. We need to set a parameter where we say, “Last drink, it’s time to go home”, similarly, with technology, we could say, “Last tweet. It’s time to get back to work.”
Here are some hacks for reducing screen time;
- Turn off notifications,
- Have a rule, to never have your phone at the dinner table,
- Have fun with it, at a party, have everyone put their phones in a pile and the first one to reach for it has to carry out a laborious task for the group,
- Have a schedule for when you’re allowed to look at your phone,
- Keep your phone away from where you sleep and if you need an alarm clock, keep the device at the other side of the room where it’s not easily accessible,
- Delete any apps that you feel no longer serve you.
Challenge yourself, turn your phone off, and put it away for as long as you can. When you’re on public transport, look out the window and see what you notice and it’s likely that you’ll pick on things that you would have missed otherwise. You’ll only see mere pixelated simulacrum from looking down at your phone. Look up! The material world awaits you in all its glory!
If you think that you might need help controlling addiction, get expert help (some links below) or even speak to a teacher or lecturer.