In today’s fast-paced world, getting lost in technology is easy. From smartphones to social media, we’re constantly hit with messages, notifications, and updates. Through it all, it’s important to take a step back and practice mindful technology use. Our relationship with technology and interactions with each other will only improve the more we become aware of our digital habits and make conscious choices. With that said, here are some key points that can help you better practice mindful technology use.
Mindful Technology Use For Adults
Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries for your technology use. Set times that you go “off-grid” and don’t touch your devices. You can even go so far as to have “no-phone zones” in the house like the dinner table or the bed so you can really connect with those around you.
Practice digital detox:Take regular breaks from technology to recharge and rejuvenate. Make a plan to make vacations and weekends IRL (in real life) time where you limit your screen time and only do things that spark joy. This can be anything from reading a book, taking a walk, or just hanging out with friends and family.
Be mindful of social media: This is a big one for mindful technology use. Social media, aka the gift and the curse, can connect you to the world one second and make you feel completely worthless the next. Stay aware of your emotions while your scrolling. If you start feeling anxious or aggravated, take a break and do something else. Bonus points if you can curate your feed to actually align with your values so it doesn’t agitate you.
Embrace digital decluttering: Do you know how good it feels after REALLY cleaning your room? Like everything in its place and nothing taking up unnecessary space? Imagine doing the same for your digital world. Clean out your inbox, delete those apps you never use, and finally organize those pictures into a family folder. Trust me, not only will you feel better but you’ll have more focus when those little annoyances stop living rent-free in your mind.
Practice Presence: If you have to use technology, really use it. Don’t just mindlessly scroll or try to do 6 things at once. Really get into that movie you’re watching, that email you need to respond to, or that video call you’re having. One, you’re likely to remember more information if you’re really paying attention but also you might -gasp- get more enjoyment out of it too.
Mindful Technology Use for Kids
Let’s face it, kids are living in a completely different world than us most of the time. They don’t know a world without social media so they’re going to need a little guidance through it. Here are some tips on keeping your kids in a good place with technology.
Create tech-free zones: As we learn to create boundaries for ourselves, we have to teach kids to do the same. A go-to space like the dinner table is the perfect place to encourage face-to-face interactions and screen-free activities. Hitting the right balance can improve social skills and promote quality family time.
Set screen time limits: When not in a tech-free zone, kids should still learn to practice moderation. Mindful technology use is all about finding the golden middle between tech and activities. For instance, screen time for homework and screen time for gaming are not going to be created equal. Discuss the why behind your decisions so your kids can develop good habits for themselves as they get older. Also, encourage breaks for physical activity and IRL interactions.
Encourage digital balance: Speaking of IRL interactions, be sure to impress upon kids the importance of balancing the real and digital worlds. Support hobbies and activities that get them up and out of the house once in a while so they’re not completely reliant on technology for fun and fulfillment. Sports, reading books, painting, basically anything without a screen is a solid way to go.
Foster digital citizenship: Just as important as it is for kids to learn to be a part of society in real life, they must learn how to be civil online as well. Teach them about things like cyberbullying, privacy, and the impact of their actions online. Encourage them to think critically, be kind, and respect others when online.
Be a role model: If any of these points had to be “the one,” this would be it. You can always show it better than you can tell it and when a kid sees you living without your phone glued to your hands, it can make a difference. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to them about technology; both their struggles with it and your own. Communication is always key and mindful technology use is no exception.
Remember, this is all about balance and moderation. No one is saying you have to be a digital hermit but don’t let your phone run your entire life. Practicing mindful technology use can create a digital world full of more fun and more meaningful interactions and I think we all owe it to ourselves to make that a reality.
Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.
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