In 2008 the average adult spent .03 hours a day on a device such as a cell phone or laptop. Can you guess what those statistics are today? Most studies conclude that about 64 percent of adults now spend about 4 to 5 hours a day on smart devices. Doesn't it sound drastic? Are we really glued to our screens that much? The answer is yes! How often do you hear your phone ring or feel the vibration in your pocket and actually ignore it? Maybe you had intentions to only check a missed call or two. But, what was intended to be a quick notification check, has now escalated into an hour-long session of you scrolling social media sites.
According to a 2018 Nielsen Report, young adults, ages 18-34 spend 43 percent of their day consuming digital media. About 29 percent of that time comes from apps on a smart device such as a cell phone or tablet.
This trend is not helping children either. A study conducted by Boston Medical Centre observed 55 families at fast-food chains. They discovered that 72 percent of parents used their smartphones the entire time and paid little attention to their children. This study determined that this new normal is affecting children and teenagers by teaching them to do the same. On average, teenagers spend about 11 hours a day on their devices and send 34 text messages before bedtime.
Tips for Cutting Back
Fighting against the urge to check your device is not an easy one. After all, you’re up against designers who excel in creating technology that keeps us emerged and even addicted. Some experts say that excessive screen time is detrimental for our well-being. It may result in a fear of social interaction, insecurities and sleep disturbance. Some psychologists believe that it will cause brain damage. Luckily SeabuckWonders has compiled a list of helpful tips that can help you and your family cut down on screen time.
As hard as it may be, try eating your meals without devices or television. This doesn’t just apply to lunch breaks at work either. Enforce this rule with family members during meals as well. Mealtime is family time.
Schedule phone calls with distant family members. Try to see your close family and friends face-to-face as much as possible.
When it’s time to go to bed for the evening, charge your devices at an outlet far from the bed. Checking your phone or tablet before you sleep affects your sleeping patterns. This will help you resist the urge to check social media notifications, emails and last minute phone calls.
Only check work emails while you are at work. If this is not preventable, schedule a specific time frame to check and/or respond to emails while you’re at home.
Turn off your notifications. For some people, constant notifications or the sound of a ringing device is enough to distract them for hours while they answer notifications or casually search, scroll and swipe on different apps.
Make no screen time a contest among immediate family members. The person who can stay off their device wins!
Excessive screen time is being contributed as one of the causes of obesity in children. Force yourself or your children to exercise or play outside before spending time on mobile devices.
Take a trip to your local library and borrow some books. Carry one with you at all times to combat boredom. So instead of scrolling Facebook and Instagram or reading e-books, fight the urge to use your mobile, and enthrall yourself in a good read. You’d be surprised at how fast time flies.
Turn in all devices at least two hours before bedtime. This will also help with sleep disturbance.
Now, this is a big one! Use your device to help you. We’re on our devices anyway, so why not pay attention to the updates that are offered. Apple released a new tool in the new iOS 12 update this year. The new tool is called “Screen Time.” The update came in response to an open letter to Apple written by two major investors. The letter discussed how screen time affects children. Soon after, “Screen Time” was launched. The “Screen Time” tool aims to inform users of how to better manage their screen time. It has parental controls and it breaks down “Screen Time” to show how much time is spent on each app and site. A parent can use this feature to completely lock children out of an app once the limit is reached.
Google will have a similar tool. In the upcoming version of Android Pie, Google will be releasing “Digital Wellbeing.” It’s almost the same as “Screen Time.” They both breakdown apps and sites used and allow you to set limits. But, Google takes it a step further. Google will have a “Wind Down Mode.” It automatically puts your phone on Do Not Disturb, forcing the system to go into a grayscale mode. Notifications will not show up while in “Wind Down.” Also, once users reach a limit for a site or app, they will have to restore it on the dashboard. On Apple's iOS 12, users only have to click ignore in the popup window.
It may be difficult, but reducing screen time has its benefits. Studies say you will become more focused and calmer. You will experience reduced stress levels, better face-to-face communication and you'll sleep better. Set limits! You’ll thank yourself later.
Angela Rightout is an enthusiastic, innovative writer with extensive experience in content writing, journalism, videography and social media. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about well-researched content.
Angela enjoys writing on a broad range of topics from health and wellness to food, technology, entertainment and news.