Digital addiction is as bad as any other addiction and we need to put ourselves through a digital diet, plus an intake of healthy digital nutrition, to overcome this modern menace

Though a new and continually growing worldwide pandemic, digital/technology addiction is still being studied to understand its effects and look for ways to handle it.

So far the research that has been done shows that, at an average, people can spend up to four hours daily on a computer or smartphone. This is not just unhealthy in physical terms, but downright dangerous psychologically too! Digital addiction is as bad as any other addiction.

Psychologist Dr Young, of the US Centre for Internet Addiction, has suggested ways to address this issue and she favours both ‘digital diets’ and ‘digital nutrition’ to check the excessive amount of time we waste in the digital world.

In digital dieting, “the length of time you use internet technology is reduced”, while digital nutrition is “about controlling what you click on”. Both are useful in kicking the habit of excessive digital device usage.

Here are some tips which will lead to controlling technology addiction.

Set time limits

Set firm limits to the number of times you will check your smartphone, iPad or computer for messages and updates, like just two or three times a day instead of every half an hour. Also fix the length of time you will be using it for.

Don’t keep your phone or iPad within easy reach all the time, so you will not have the urge to check it too often.                                                  

Unregulated internet usage or TV viewing should be avoided at all costs.

Photo: Rawpixil

Move out of your comfort zone

Don’t be too comfortable when you are using the computer or watching TV so that after some time you have to leave and do something else.

Rearrange the room so that the television is no longer the focal point of the room. The chair you use to watch TV shouldn’t be too comfortable to sit on for too long.

Indulge in outdoor activities

Spend some time playing a sport, going for a walk, riding the bike or something similar so that you are outdoor and away from technology and its temptations.

Set a rule that you have to do any healthy physical activity for a certain time, like an hour at least, before you will spend some time in cyber space.

Choose social life over social media

Photo: Stockvault

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are taking up more time than our social life ever did and it is also taking over our social life. So it’s time to stop chatting with friends on all kinds of chatting apps and sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with others. You’ll find it more satisfying and productive.

Limit your online interaction to include only those who are far away and whom you don’t get to meet frequently. And you don’t need to tell the world what you eat or wore last night. Trust me, very few people are interested in this.

The ‘Likes’ you get are just courtesy being returned for the ‘Likes’ you give to others. A smile or a hug from a person in front of you is more meaningful.

Get back to reading on paper!

Try to read a few pages from a book or an article/report in a newspaper before you turn on the TV, computer or iPad. Choose a reading matter that interests you, such as something on your hobby or your favourite sport, then slowly, but surely, your interest will increase and you will find yourself turning to a book more often than a screen.

Take up a hobby

Take up a hobby that will occupy your time and attention and keep you from the urge to check the updates on your phone or Facebook page.

Start projects or do chores around the house that you have been putting off, like cleaning, arranging, organising and studying. Get your hands busy in doing something the moment you have the urge to pick up your smartphone, it will help increase the breaks you are trying to give to your digital habit.

Block, ban and deactivate

You need to do one or all of these when your exams approach. Digital technology is the biggest distraction that is keeping you from attaining you full potential as a student. You can’t have your online games and still get top marks. You have to cut down on one to go up the level in the other.

All the games on Facebook require you to play them frequently to go up in the game level. So the higher your level in a game, the more time it requires you to spend on it — rubbing you off the time that should have been spent on studies or other productive and enriching things.

Assess your usage of technology frankly, understand what tempts you and form your digital diet plan and follow it strictly.

This article was originally published in Young World, Dawn, on January 16th, 2015. Read it here

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