Whether one likes it or not, technology is engraved in everybody’s life. People with smartphones are constantly on it, from simply checking the emails, checking new Instagram posts, sending short messages via Telegram, or asking Alexa directions. In 2020, it was projected that 8 billion people will be connected to Internet-run devices. It has ceased to be an intangible cloudscape; the online community has, over the years, gurgled with a thriving community of 3.8 billion users, keeping each other alive with a series of trending Tweets or scowl-worthy Facebook posts that call for the thumbs-down emojis.
The fact is, 40% of the world’s entire population flourishes online, and an average American, more so.
According to a 2018 Neilsen study, Americans spend ten hours and a half on the internet each day. That’s a huge chunk of their given 24 hours, even if it’s about work or play. But just like every innovation, there are cons; overexposure to the internet leads to various drawbacks, including a decrease in self-esteem, physical burn-out, mental stress, and strains in the body. That’s why it is so important to manage the habits borne out of internet usage. This is what experts now call Digital Wellbeing.
What is Digital wellbeing?
Digital Wellbeing, according to Google, is finding a balance between the online and offline world.
The thin line between the real and the not
A few minutes’ scrolls on someone’s Instagram gallery may seem harmless until it starts creeping into one’s confidence. Gorgeously laid-out pictures, luxurious dresses, dreamy holidays - all of these make out the indescribably perfect gallery that slowly chips off one’s self-esteem. Twitter may seem enjoyable – after all, it’s where the best trending nuggets come from – but wait until the mob turns on one’s account for voicing out their opinions. The same happens with Facebook. Make no mistake; the internet is today’s most useful tool. It could harness almost everything; from smart homes to simply better communication. But too much of the internet can prove bad for the soul, and at the end of the day, the latter matters.
How to hold your door
Technology wasn’t made to make one feel bad about themselves; it’s created to inform, to inspire, to give hope. Thus, having better internet habits is key. Here are some places to start:
Are you using your device for productivity or entertainment?
If it’s the latter, how long do you need to be entertained? Netflix may invite you to binge-watch on your favorite family saga for four hours, but it makes you less productive, and it causes strain to the body – most especially to the eyes. The solution? Cut back on binge-watching, and schedule when to watch, so you can be more productive by the time you get into the “Netflix and Chill” mode again.
Hanging out on Twitter too much?
It’s nice to see the trending topics, but reading a mixed pot of opinions may leave you confused, so restricting to a ten-minute glance at your friend’s timelines may be enough to keep you updated, but don’t linger there. Managing the time you spend on the apps, especially on the louder districts of social media, will give you better inner peace.
Organize your smartphone
Your big, glossy screen is a temptation, so don’t keep it that way. Clear out your home screen and remove all the unnecessary apps; limit it to just five. This irons out the potential distractions. Out of sight, out of mind. Tuck your game and entertainment apps in folders; mentally, you don’t want to go through various swipes to get to somewhere, so this works.
Need a bit more help? Get through the digital wellbeing course
As part of their outreach program, Google partners with experts - psychologists, sociologists, and even mindfulness consultants - to help them with their Digital Wellbeing efforts. The educational videos are available in their Digital Workshop and are meant to encourage users to set boundaries for technology while increasing productivity. Additionally, Android users can rejoice. An app, embedded on the Android smartphone update Android Pie, is packed with a heap of tools that let users check and limit their interaction with technology.
Internet is essential, but too much exposure to it causes harm in one’s overall health.
Knowing when to pull back is key to maintaining your digital wellbeing without sacrificing productivity, and a bit of amusement.