Healthy Habits in the Digital Age
Screen Rules: Not Just for Kids
In this first article in a four-part series, we’ll take a look at managing screen time for adults, and how to step away from your devices. In future issues we’ll dig into the physical ailments that come from overusing our devices, tips on how to deal with the anxiety, depression and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that can accompany social media, and ways to manage your personal digital data.
There’s a lot of information online about how much screen time a child should have every day. But what about adults? With so many of us tied to technology at work and at home, is it even possible to limit? Should we bother?
Experts believe that we should limit our screen time, but don’t offer a standardized number of hours for adults because it can vary widely depending on profession. But, if you’re like most people in the U.S., there’s a lot of room for cutting back.
TIPS FOR REDUCING YOUR SCREEN TIME
It’s easy to see how we can easily lose track of time – one quick check on our device can result in hours of lost time. Digital devices are addictive. We get a dopamine release in our brains when we feel connected, and this false form of connection can lead us to reach for our devices over and over. But there is hope. With a little discipline and practice, it’s possible to better manage daily screen time.
Take a break – stretch or walk away from screens now and then.
Use the technology – download apps that can help limit screen time, like Offtime, Moment, or Freedom, or set your phone alarm or a reminder to help you remember to step away.
Stand up – moving while using your device is better than being sedentary.
Don’t eat in front of screens – we all do it, but try to limit this to a few times a week instead of everyday.
Make it routine – try not checking your phone after you’ve brushed your teeth at night, and before you brush them in the morning.
Putting a few healthy habits in place can help keep your screen time in check, while improving your health and productivity.
AMERICAN SCREEN TIME BY THE NUMBERS
- 11 – the number hours an adult spends looking at a screen each day. That’s the equivalent of nearly two full time jobs a week!
- 10 – the average adult checks their phone every 10 minutes.
- 80% – the percentage of adults who use digital screens in the hours before bed.
- 26% – the percentage of adults who are online “almost constantly”.
- 90% – the number of U.S. households that have at least one of these devices: smartphone, desktop/laptop computer, tablet or streaming media device. The typical American household has five of these!
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) and Pew Research Center