According to statistics, nearly half of us own a smartphone, laptops are eclipsing TVs in popularity and social networking sites are replacing seeing friends.
Some of us check our devices religiously throughout the day (guilty!), even taking them to bed with us, and ‘dual-screening’ is now commonplace. That’s not a new karate move, it’s when you do things like keep checking your phone while watching TV. But don’t worry, you’re not alone; 70% of tablet users do the same.
All in all it means we’re spending a hefty amount of our time online – a trend that’s worrying many health and relationship experts. And one of the biggest things to suffer under the changes brought about by a spike in new technology use has been family time.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Tired But Wired (Souvenir Press), advises that you conduct an honest audit of how much time your family spends on tech – “the results may shock you into change”. Here she shares her six steps to moderating the amount of time you spend connected to devices and maximising the time you spend connecting to your loved ones.
SIX STEPS TO A TECH DETOX
- Create technology-free zones or time. Try to return to some old-fashioned family rituals, like having a meal together a few times a week with no phones or computers allowed, or even arrange a ‘games night’ with board games.
- Don’t sleep with your laptop or smartphone switched on in your bedroom.
- Set a good example. Avoid checking your cellphone unnecessarily when you’re with family. It’s easy for children to pick up bad habits.
- Stop feeling like you’re ‘missing out’ when you’re not online. Instead, find things to enjoy away from the computer.
- Turn off your ‘incoming mail’ pop-up or sound alert.
- Get into the habit of turning off your computer at a certain point every evening. Start leaving your tablet behind when you pop out for an hour – eventually you may feel ready to go the whole weekend without any technology!