A Digital Nutritionist for The New Year
It takes work to be a thriving human, strengthening your mind and body — often with the help of therapists, doctors, nurses, trainers, coaches, and consultants. We rely on specialists to help with for almost every area of our life, but are often left feeling lost, alone, and overwhelmed when it comes to technology.
This year invest in a “digital nutritionist” to rebalance your consumption of technology, as the majority of Americans are being overfed and undernourished with the time they spend online. A balanced relationship with technology can greatly improve your mental, physical, professional, and interpersonal health with the help of a certified digital wellness educator like those at Screen Time Clinic. They know proven ways to help individuals, families, and companies reprogram routines to thrive in the digital age and prevent long term problems.
The following are the top 5 areas of Digital Media Overuse we see in countries like America stealing your attention due to the persuasive design of technology and lack of government regulations on privacy or harmful content.
Top 5 Areas of Digital Media Overuse
1. Information Overload
Constant scrolling of news, information, blogs, podcasts, ads, and videos makes it hard to take a break and give our minds the quite time needed to be human and reflect on ourselves and our own life without barrage of information from the outside world. This is one of the most common areas individuals with ADHD struggle with since the desire to be constantly connected overwhelms other more important human-nurturing activites.
2. Gaming Addiction
Video games continue to be one of the most addictive forms of digital media due to their sophisticated design and mass amount of users contributing to the persuasive design of violent, sexual, and graphic content that keeps players engaged for as long as possible often compulsively spending and gambling within games and sacrificing in person activities, relationships and learning.
3. Social Media Overuse
Social media has exploded since the pandemic, with algorithms teaching users to create more highly engaging and unrealistic posts using fast paced graphics, highly photoshopped or fantasy photos, and engaging sexual content. With serious privacy violations and no age verification, users start at an early age and morph into dependency, becoming hooked for life without intentional intervention of time, notifications, and content curation. Proven to cause serious mental health problems even for the most confident and affluent users, many companies and people are choosing to unplug from this platform but the majority of users find it hard to pull away.
4. Compulsive Spending/Online Gambling
From spending crypto Robux, inexperienced investing on Robinhood, and easy access to online gambling, there are many ways to waste away your money than the traditional obsessive online shopping for goods. Young users have very little impulse control and less experience saving money and spending on meaningful items that teach responsibility. Those with other vulnerabilities to addiction find themselves easily over their heads in debt, spending real money on currencies that never materialize.
5. Pornography Addiction
Once difficult to find access to with strict age verification to even buy magazines, now easily accessible via social media, Pintrest and specialty sites with no age verification, PORN is EVERYWHERE online. Child pornography is rampant, online groomers are highly sophisticated, and youngsters happily send nudes to one another with little regard for their own bodies. Viewing pornographic images is addictive and changes the way the brain functions similar to chronic abuse, changing the neuroplacticity and causing real physical problems with normal sexual functions. Celebrities have spoken out about the harms, yet the fabric of our society continues to erode itself in America and countries with no filters on adult content for adults or minors.
The longer these behavioral addictions continue, the more difficult they are to change with out an integrated treatment plan that requires intervention from multiple professionals. What areas are you most concerned about for yourself, society, or someone you love? Take a moment to connect with a certified digital wellness educator to voice your concerns and learn proven ways to prevent or treat digital media overuse. You can also take the following 5 steps to reduce your time and tech and rebalance your life.
5 Ways to Balance Time on Tech
1. Remove All Notifications
You simply don’t need them. If you are working during your dedicated work hours, you will see emails and calls. If you are busy doing other things, you don’t need instant notifications of calls, texts, social media pings, game chatter, and marketing hits to lure you back to your device. YOU are in control of your time, not them. You will not miss anything by looking at it when you choose, not when a notification prompts you.
2. Check Your Time
See how much time you are actually spending on apps, games, news. It only takes 15 minutes doing something for it to become a new habit over 21 days– so replace time online with a different habit. Taking a walk, drinking water, reading a book, closing your eyes and meditating, talking on the phone, literally anything than the top 5 addictive areas above.
3. Schedule Non-Tech Time
Because digital media is so easily accessible it’s easy to default to time online when nothing else is planned. Just as you would schedule a trip to the gym, schedule other non-tech activities each week.
4. Make a List of Low-Tech Activities You Enjoy
Similar to scheduling time away from tech, make a list of activities you enjoy or think you would like to explore. Goal setting has always helped maintain a healthy lifestyle and it’s no different when it comes to balancing technology. Less time on technology reduces levels of cortisol and calms the sympathetic nervous system helping you reach your other wellness goals faster. Don’t discount historically mundane activities like organizing closets and doing dishes, these are great times to turn the TV off and enjoy the silence or calming music!
5. Don’t Multi-Task with Technology
We all like to be efficient but checking your phone messages while watching TV or surfing the internet while listening to a work report actually causes your brain to slow and be less fast in critical thinking, over-loading the brain and retaining less than 40% of the information you think you are getting. Plus it reduces focus stamina making you have less tolerance for slow paced activities that are equally important to muddle through as well functioning and patient humans. Watch your TV and fold laundry? Sure, just make sure it’s quality programming that’s worth your attention.