- 7 Hrs – The average time American children spend in front of electronic screens daily
- 150 Times per day – The average times/day cell phone owners check their phones
- 80% of kids aged 2 to 4 years-old use mobile devices
- 15 – 25 Minutes – The average time kids spend playing outside daily
(60-90 min recommended for ages 1-3 by the Early Head Start National Resource Ctr)
Technology – we all use it because it’s become a normal part of our daily lives. It’s how we connect with the world, stay in touch, do business, keep our kids busy, keep ourselves busy, learn, explore, rekindle old friendships, meet new people….and the reasons go on.
However, people know that staying connected all the time is not a good thing. Some negatives of excessively staying connected is that we can feel burnt out from information overload, there’s pressure to multi-task things and people online, the persona we create on social media is not a true reflection of who we really are, we care too much about what other people are doing, and we leave little time to focus on being present and alone with ourselves, family and friends.
According to a 2013 social media experiment, German scientists studied 600 people who logged onto Facebook regularly and found that the social media site left 1 in 3 people feeling worse after their visit. Some users were even triggered by emotions of envy, misery and loneliness.
So with all this online comparing, breaking away for a breath of fresh air, literally, can be good for you. Disconnecting from technology not only benefits mental health, it can also indirectly make us happier by improving mindfulness of our surroundings and gives us more time to work on relationships with family and friends.
Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.
— Avinash Wandre
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting people give up using technology as it’s virtually impossible to function without tech in this day and age, we’re just talking about a little moderation and balance. Like most habits, it requires some retraining and baby steps.
If you’re interested in joining the unplug movement, here are some ideas to get you started:
1) Set up no phone times
Find a time or times that works for you. You can make breakfast, lunch and/or dinner “no phone time”. Work on getting comfortable with yourself, try eating mindfully, read something on paper, or have a face-to-face conversation. The possibilities are endless.
2) Set up a no tech zone
Make one room at home void of technology. This encourages a space free of TV noise, streaming videos or other online distractions. Use this sanctuary to do things that calm you – perhaps journal your gratitude, play board games, draw with the kids, or have an in-person conversation.
3) Designate technology usage hours
On the flip side, if you are able to go offline for most of the day, try limiting your use of technology to specific times like the morning or evening. This will free up space in your head to invite mindfulness (and gratitude) to more parts of your day.
4) Participate in outdoor activities
Do outdoor activities that interest you so you’ll want to go offline more. Take up hiking, nature walks, sports, or even just lay out at the beach…
5) Take a Pledge
We, at MyGrateful.Life, have made our own pledge to unplug once a week. It’s usually marked with a panoramic picture in place of our daily posts. We’ve promised to spend our unplug day with family and friends in nature whenever possible.
Take a pledge for yourself. If you need extra reinforcement, here are a few companies that are at the forefront of the unplug movement.