Media has certainly impacted our lives. Whether you feel addicted or not, the goal of apps, games and social media is to keep you engaged.
So how can we resist being lured in by technology?
There’s a lot more to it than self-control. A poll found 69% of parents and 78% of teens feel the need to check their devices at least hourly. What’s driving this impulse is computer coding that’s specifically developed to influence your behavior and make the product feel essential to life.
Hearing or seeing an app notification can pique your curiosity. You feel compelled to check it out and then your brain is rewarded when your content gets “likes” or “shares.” And many people, especially teenagers check in and respond quickly because they don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on anything.
The internet is not going to disappear so it’s important that families create healthy digital lifestyles. Here are my prescriptions to resist device addiction:
1. Turn off notifications while at work or school. That way you won’t see or hear any pings that trigger you to reach for your device.
2. Set a daily timer allowing yourself a specific amount of screen time to check your apps and feeds. You’ll be more focused and get more accomplished.
3. Skip the free games and buy the paid versions. Free games offer in-app purchases aimed to keep you playing and buying more often.
4. Practice mindfulness. It’ll help address that “always-on” feeling and let you pause long enough to decide if you really need to check your mobile device.
It’s alarming that kids and teens can spend more than 7 hours a day on smartphones, TV’s, computers and other electronic devices.
This can be a source of friction for lots of families. Plus only 1 in 3 kids get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day. Kids who are physically active tend to be more successful and academically motivated. So it’s important that parents set screen limits and encourage their kids to develop healthy habits.