Think back to when you were a kid, playing outside and having fun with your friends. Before you knew it, mom was yelling out the window at the top of her lungs, "DINNER TIME!"
Everyone within blocks could hear her. Heck, you didn't even have to be outside. You might even hear the same type of shriek if you were upstairs in your bedroom.
As odd as this may sound, those really were the "good old days." That was a time when more people had personal connections and face-to-face conversations. These days, it seems people would rather speak through technology than in person.
Is tech replacing the human element?
What we're really talking about here is how people constantly text each other nowadays instead of talking on the phone or even from room to room. It's so much easier to just text someone sitting in the next room to let them know dinner is ready than walk into that room, or even yell at them like mom used to do.
Have you ever wondered how many texts are being sent every day? The answer will probably shock you.
OK, these numbers are just amazing! According to a Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) study from 2017, 6 billion SMS messages are sent each day in the U.S. That means over 180 billion are sent each month, and 2.27 trillion are sent each year. Yikes!
Is anyone speaking in person anymore? Apparently not.
Don't get me wrong, I love technology. There's nothing better than the convenience smartphones bring to so many things in our lives.
But there needs to be a balance, wouldn't you say? You don't want to be so connected to your device that you miss out on essential human connections. Keep reading for easy ways to cut down on screen time so you can get your life back.
How to reconnect with family and friends the old-fashioned way
If you added up all the time every day you spend staring at a screen, you might be shocked. How bad is the problem? Even Apple, which wants people to use its devices, recently added a feature in iOS 12 that helps you manage screen use by setting time limits for apps.
Here are a few ideas on how to better manage time spent on your devices.
Make a no-tech-at-dinner rule
Dinner time used to be all about families gathering around a table and sharing news of their day. Now, it’s more likely to involve everyone staring at their smartphones or watching television.
Buck the trend and go old school with a no-tech dinner rule. This can encourage family bonding, but even if you’re solo, it can be a great time to reflect on your day or catch up on your book reading.
Remove some apps
What are your biggest smartphone time wasters? It may be the Facebook app and its many attention-getting notifications or a mindless game you turn to when you’re feeling bored.
Wipe those apps off your phone. You can still get to Facebook on your computer or through your phone's browser when you need to, so you're not cutting yourself off from your online social network.
Schedule screen-free times
This is a good challenge for a family, but it can be healthy for anyone to schedule a break from your gadgets. You can start with a low-impact time period, like part of a Sunday.
Put aside your tech and schedule an activity instead, like a hike or a board game night. Aim to cover at least several hours. You can always build on your success and lengthen the time or even try out an entire screen-free weekend.
Turn on Do Not Disturb at night
The quality of your sleep is important and you can’t afford to have phone notifications rousing you from your slumber. The easiest way to put a cap on this is to set up Do Not Disturb mode on your phone during your bedtime hours. Read our Komando guide for getting it done.
Those are just a few ideas to help you unplug. Incorporate a few of them and you'll be living a balanced life in no time.
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