Technology can be incredibly beneficial, but if you’re not careful, it’s all too easy to become addicted. Similar to any other addiction, tech addiction is difficult to break. That’s why it’s so important to limit your tech use before it spirals out of control.
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on your tech time, look no further. In this article, there are ways to cut back on the habit for you and your entire family. From creating a screen time calendar to starting a new activity, here are eight ways to limit your tech use.
- Create A Screen Time Calendar
You might think you’re strong enough to put your phone away and not touch it, but most people aren’t. After all, many people can’t help but reach for their phone as soon as they hear that notification buzz. It’s practically automatic.
How can you avoid this automatic reaction? By creating a calendar of tech use for yourself and your family. Similar to how you’d create an itinerary for a trip, create one for your tech time. For example, you could allocate just one hour a day for television. Maybe keep your phone use to two.
When you’re making these rules for your kids, take extra care. Even if your children have limited kids phones, you should limit when and where your children can use them. After tech time is up, have everyone put the phones away.
- Designate Tech-free Zones
A good way to limit tech use is by designating tech-free zones. This might include your bathroom, your kitchen, or your living room. These tech-free zones are exactly what they sound like—areas where you avoid using any form of technology.
When choosing rooms, focus on the places where you use tech the most, but where it isn’t necessary. For example, many Americans use their cellphone during mealtime. Scrolling through Instagram while eating might not seem like a big deal, but distracted eating can negatively impact your health. For one, it can cause you to overeat. It can also keep you from connecting with the people you’re eating with.
- Leave Tech Out Of The Bedroom
One tech-free zone you should definitely have is the bedroom. According to research, 90% of Americans use some form of technological device in the bedroom. That’s a problem. Studies have shown that the blue light from tech devices suppresses the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally makes to help regulate your sleep cycle.
Because of this, you should do your best to keep technology out of your bedroom. This includes your smartphone, iPad, and computer. Instead of using your phone as a way to wind down at night, try reading a book. Ultimately, do what you can to add the bedroom to your other tech-free zones.
- Keep Yourself Busy
If you’re spending too much time on technology, it might be due to your lifestyle. How many activities do you partake in that require technology? You should make sure to find hobbies outside of the tech world, too. Are you involved in clubs? Do you like working out?
If your world revolves around tech, you might automatically turn to tech to keep yourself entertained. Try to replace screen time with other activities. For example, play outside with your children, or go to a yoga class with your best friends. Regardless of where you live, it should be easy to find things to do.
- Use Your Phone As A Resource
This might sound counterintuitive, but technology can actually help you limit your tech use. There are apps that teach you a healthier way of using your phone. For example, some apps are designed to track your phone usage. They will even help you break your addiction to tech.
The app, Offtime, lets you choose whose calls can come through, like calls from your children or partner. Then it’ll silence everyone else. The app sends out an auto response to people on your behalf. It also stores all the messages and calls you missed. Once you’re back to your phone, you can catch right up.
What’s nice about this app is that it can identify patterns. For example, there might be a time someone keeps calling you, but they’re not on your approved list of callers. Offtime will consider that an emergency, and push the call through. So even though the app helps you reduce your screen time, you can be confident you won’t miss an emergency.
If you don’t want to download an app, try disabling your notifications. You can even put your phone on airplane mode so that you don’t get bogged down by distractions.
- Avoid Apps That Steal Your Time
According to a 2020 survey, 50% of individuals admitted to spending a majority of their tech time on social media. If you’re spending hours on Instagram or Facebook, you may not only be addicted to physical devices. You may also be addicted to social media.
Games also can be a huge timesuck. Those apps are designed to hold your attention. You may be struggling to stop the mindless scrolling or your never-ending game of Candy Crush. If so, consider deleting some of the most-used apps from your phone. This way, you won’t be tempted to check to jump back on whenever you have a minute of free time.
- Create Consequences
Creating rules to limit tech use is a good start. But you should also have consequences in place for if, and when, you break those rules.
As an adult, creating consequences for yourself might sound like a new process. However, it’s likely you’ve done it before. For example, you may pick healthy dinners after you eat unhealthy lunches. Developing consequences can be an intuitive process.
When assigning a consequence for overusing tech, keep it simple. For example, you can create a tech jar that you add money to whenever you break a rule. Maybe this money will then go to charity, instead of in your pocket.
- Involve Your Family
Chances are, you aren’t the only person in your family with an unhealthy obsession with technology. Instead of focusing on limiting your individual tech time, focus on limiting your family’s tech time, too. By putting rules in place for everyone, you’ll be able to hold each other accountable.
You can even cheer each other on throughout the process. Consider celebrating milestones together. If everyone commits to the restrictions for a week, you can all celebrate with a movie night. It’s a great way to develop healthy tech habits and bond as a family.
It’s true — too much technology isn’t a good thing, but tech is a necessity. So, what do you do? Banning tech outright certainly isn’t a solution. However, you can find ways to limit your use. Then you’ll be on your way to a healthier relationship with technology.