Technology has increasingly engulfed the way people live, work and play in recent decades. The rise of smartphones, social media and apps have further revolutionized how to handle technology for everyday use. While it may all seem convenient, it does bring up the question of whether there comes a point where using too much technology is personally detrimental.
A Pew Research Center study, its results released on Thursday, July 25, found 28 percent of American adults, an increase from 21 percent in 2015, reported going online “almost constantly.” This nationwide survey had attracted 1,502 American adult respondents and was conducted from January 8 to February 7 earlier this year. It also found that 45 percent of the participants reported going online “several times a day” and 9 percent reported doing so “about once a day” — this showed that 81 percent overall said they go online daily. The remaining participants either reported only being online “several times a week,” “less often” or “never.”
Furthermore, it found that 86 percent of participants use a smartphone, tablet or another mobile device type to access the internet occasionally. 92 percent reported using such devices to go online daily. The study implied that people with mobile devices were “especially likely to be online a lot.”
Younger adults, aged 19 through 29, appeared to be the most visible group in terms of going online, with 48 percent reporting they are online almost constantly. This paled from seniors, aged 65 and above, where only 7 percent of them reported going online almost constantly.
For more information regarding the study and its results, visit www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/25/americans-going-online-almost-constantly/.
While the study did not comment on whether people going online so much was personally detrimental or not, the reader may start brainstorming questions like whether such heavy screen time is healthy, interferes with one’s everyday life, affects one’s working and sleeping habits, and so on.
The following are some tips to address that concern, particularly for users of Apple products like the iPhone which perhaps is the most popular electronic device worldwide.
Limiting your time
In the case of smartphones, you should be able to keep track of how long you use your device or certain apps within it. For example, in the iPhone specifically, you can go to your “Settings” and head down to the “Battery” option. From there, you can toggle between “Show Activity” or “Show Battery Usage” option where you can see exactly how much time you spend on your most-used apps to give you an idea of your usage.
Similarly, many social media apps lets you check how long you take using them and also, a setting where you can set a time limit on your app usage. For example, in the Instagram app, go to your “Settings” on your profile, tap “Account” and then “Your Activity.” Here, it presents a bar chart detailing the amount of time you spend using Instagram daily. Furthermore, it has a “Set Daily Reminder” option where you can set a daily time limit — it can be for 30 minutes, a couple of hours or even half a day. Once you reach that time limit, you will receive a gentle notification to inform you.
Typically, when you set up notifications on your electronic device, the point is to be instantly alerted if a new email, message, calendar event, alarm or social media update comes your way, Naturally, you would want to pick up your device and immediately check on the notification.
However, while this may keep you updated and connected, it may also cause you to unnecessarily pick up your device all the time. The iPhone has a setting for “Notifications” where you can select the notification type you desire for each app you have. It also lets you choose to not allow notifications for any app; this helps to determine which certain important apps you only wish to receive notifications for.
Another way to possibly remedy this in the iPhone again is regarding a setting called “Screen Time” which breaks down how many notifications you receive throughout the day and how many times you physically pick up your device daily.
The setting also lets you designate “Downtime” where you can schedule a time daily where certain apps, notification types and calls will be allowed. Similarly, it also enables you to set “App Limits” where you can manage how long you can spend on apps, which have been automatically organized into categories like Social Networking, Games, Entertainment, Productivity, Education and Health.
Get out there
While technology provides for a great way to entertain and to get work done, it’s not the only way. Learn to schedule enough time for other non-technology-related activities to get your eyeballs off a screen.
Instead of online shopping, visit a physical store or a mall where you’re able to try out clothes and window shop. Instead of using a Kindle or any e-reader device, pick up a book, comic, magazine or newspaper. Instead of playing video games, engage in an outdoor activity, board games or simply take a walk. Instead of scrolling through social media, plan to meet with your friends and engage in a physical social life beyond your screen. Instead of checking or typing too many emails, write in a journal or notebook.
The list can be endless as places like museums, cafes, farmer’s markets, libraries and more seldom require the use of technology on your part.
The above tips and examples ironically show how technology has infiltrated virtually every aspect of everyday life but they demonstrate that there are ways to still keep technology at arm’s length.