We’re officially a nation of screen junkies.
Adults in the UK spend an average of one day a week – 25 hours – online, according to a new survey. Meanwhile 42% go online or check apps more than 10 times a day and around one in 10 access the internet more than 50 times a day.
Devices are taking over our lives and it’s led roughly 15 million people in the UK to go on a “digital detox” for the sake of their health.
For those who don’t know where to begin, here are nine tips to help you on your way.
1. Put it away at meal times
“Focus on your food and it’ll taste nicer,” says Lucy Pearson founder of Unplugged Weekend, which runs device-free breaks.
2. Be mindful of limiting screen time
“Schedule designated times to check your emails, then get on with getting stuff done,” adds Pearson.
“Don’t leap to every beep, buzz or light of your devices,” says Martin Talks from Digital Detoxing, who teach workforces how to switch off more.
“It takes as much as 20 minutes to properly refocus on what you were doing when you got distracted. You should be in control of your technology, not the other way round.”
3. Buy an alarm clock
“Keep your digital devices out of the bedroom,” says Talks. “Backlight devices mess with our melatonin production that is necessary for us to sleep.”
4. Go on a digital detoxing adventure
“Leave your phones, laptops and tablets behind and go on an adventure for a day, a week or even a month, with fun activities from wildlife appreciation to painting, kite flying to canoeing,” says Talks.
“If you can make it a few days or so, choose a place with no Wifi – a lot of places in Scotland and Norfolk work nicely for this. Just let people know you will be offline while you are away.”
5. Take regular mini-digital detoxes at home
“For instance, don’t look at your phone until 9.30am in the morning or after 9.30pm at night,” adds Talks.
6. Compliment people in real life
“Don’t just ‘like’ everything virtually,” says Pearson. “Let people know how great they are face-to-face.”
7. Take up a non-screen based hobby
“If your work demands hours staring at a screen, take up a hobby that takes you away from that like swimming, yoga or pottery,” says Talks.
8. Use tech to fight tech
“There is tech to quantify the amount of time you spend online, including chasing Pokemon,” explains Talks. “This will help you realise the scale of the problem and see your progress.
“There is also tech to help you set limits for you and your family.”
9. Don’t ‘phub’
“Snubbing people with your phone is one of the most annoying habits people often fall into,” says Talks. “It’s time for some proper netiquette.”