Smartphones have revolutionised modern life. According to a Deloitte survey carried out in 2019, 91% of Irish adults have a smartphone. This miniature portable computer allows us to carry out any number of tasks in any location at any time. The accessibility and ease of use of the modern smartphone has huge benefits. From social media, internet access, online shopping, cameras and apps for practically anything you can think of, we are spending more and more of our lives on our phones. However, problems such as phone addiction and radiation exposure are very real concerns. We must have a healthy and balanced relationship with our phones.
- Set Yourself Limits: We can easily find ourselves wiling away hours on our phones scrolling through reams of content until we are googly-eyed. The 2019 Deloitte survey found that 56% of Irish people feel that they check their phones too often. This can be a time-wasting exercise when we could be doing something more productive. Set a personal limit as to how long you will spend on your phone during the day. Aim to use your phone for specific purposes rather than just mindless scrolling. Set goals like not checking your phone within the first hour of waking up, or not using your phone at dinner time.
- Avoid screen time before bed: The HSE recommends avoiding screens for at least an hour before going asleep. This is because they stimulate your brain, making it harder to sleep as your mind is too active. Perhaps read a book or take a bath instead.
- Put your phone away: Phones can be a major distraction at times. If you are trying to study or finish an assignment, try turning your phone off or putting it somewhere out of reach. That way you can focus solely on the task at hand and not be distracted by incoming notifications.
- Have hobbies that don’t involve your phone: From fitness trackers, workout videos, online tutorials and online shopping, we could practically involve our phone in every task that we do. Try and take time to do things that don’t involve your phone. Try cooking a meal using a recipe book instead of Pinterest. Go to the supermarket to do your shopping rather than ordering online. Prove to yourself that you aren’t completely reliant on your phone to run your life.
- Mind your mental health: Don’t get caught up in how perfect everyone’s lives look on Instagram and how beautiful filtered and airbrushed influencers are. Remind yourself that this is not reality and unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or think negatively.
- Spend quality time with friends and family: With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, spending time with people in person has been difficult. Guidelines and public health advice permitting, spend quality time doing things you enjoy with your friends and family, rather than just communicating through social media. Real-life connections are so important for our mental health and can’t be replicated through technology.