29 January 2020

How do you make sure technology improves your life rather than distracting you from it? Ask someone on the street this question and chances are they’ll tell you to cut down your screen time. But is that all there is to it?

It’s fairly obvious that spending 12 hours a day glued to a screen, and surviving on nachos and energy drinks is not going to do anyone much good. But this stereotype of the lone gamer is, for the most part, just that: a stereotype. This isn’t a fair picture of how most of us spend time online day-to-day.

Technology is an essential part of our lives; it’s how we work and learn and play. It’s how we make connections, find our tribes, and get involved in our communities. Simply cutting down our screen time isn’t the only way to manage our digital wellbeing, we need to think about the quality of the time we spend online too.

At ZOOM, we think digital wellbeing is all about balance: making the time we spend online a healthy part of the rest of our lives. For many of us, the biggest problem is being able to tell when things are out of whack.

Because we’re always online, and because during so much of that time we are alone – on the bus, waiting in a queue, in bed unable to sleep – it can be hard to pick up on signs that our digital wellbeing needs some attention.

So how can we actually become more digitally healthy? One way to approach digital wellbeing is to use technology mindfully. Now we don’t mean mindfulness, we are not suggesting you lie down, empty your mind, and imagine sunlight washing over you every time you feel the urge to check your Insta.

By using technology mindfully we just mean becoming more aware of how time online affects you, and in what ways. You can do this by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • How do I feel when I’m using [this app/website]?
  • Is time spent using it making my life better? In what ways?
  • How do I feel online at different points during the day? Does the time I am online make a difference to my mood?

Of course, the amount of time we spend online does matter. And in the coming weeks we’ll be sharing tips and tricks to help you thrive online. But knowing what effect different types of time spent online has on you, is an important first step in developing digital wellbeing.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the SPACE app or take a look at this free course on digital wellbeing.