According to a study led by Nottingham Trent University, the average person checks their smartphone 85 times a day – spending a total of five hours browsing the web and apps.
Being parted with one’s smartphone has been known to cause severe anxiety, insomnia and panic (all symptoms of addiction by the way). And let’s not even begin to talk about the effect that a constant barrage of negative, inflammatory, salacious and downright weird content can have on your mental health.
Here are my top five digital detox tips
- Remove your devices from your bedroom
This includes your TV. Put your cellphone and tablet on charge in another room. Many devices have a ‘night mode’ that will turn off the sound of notifications during a pre-selected time frame. If you’re worried about missing an emergency call, these ‘night modes’ also allow you to select telephone numbers that you will take a call from or the phone will ring if it receives a call from the same number more than once.
- Agree on device free times with your family
In our home it is meal times, when we’re in the car together or when we are on a family outing.
- Play the Phone Stack game
If you’re out for a meal or a social occasion, get all your friends to stack their phones on top of each other in the middle of the table. The first person to answer their phone has to pay the bill.
- Set an auto-reply on your emails
A short automated email saying something like “Thank you for your email. I check my inbox at 9 am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm every day and be assured that I will respond as soon as I am able.”
This takes the pressure off you to answer immediately – leaving you time to actually do some work – and the person sending the email will know you have received it.
- Download Net Nanny
This ingenious software can be installed on all your devices and it allows you to set time controls for when you are allowed on certain websites or apps (e.g. between 5 pm and 6 pm on Facebook). You can also filter and block apps and content for your children’s devices.
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