Ample research has shown that excessive screen time can have negative effects on our health, well-being, and relationships. As we enter a new year, it’s a great time to develop some healthier internet habits together with our family.
Here are five tips on how to set better screen time boundaries for yourself and your loved ones:
Set a daily limit. The first step is to decide how much screen time is appropriate for you and your family, based on your age, lifestyle, and needs. You can use a screen time tracker app or device settings to monitor and limit your usage. Aim for no more than two hours of recreational screen time per day for adults, and one hour for children and teens.
Schedule screen-free time. The second step is to designate some periods of the day or week as screen-free time, when you and your family avoid using any devices. For example, you can have screen-free mornings, evenings, weekends, or family nights. Use this time to engage in other activities, such as reading, playing, exercising, or spending quality time with each other.
Create screen-free zones. The third step is to create some areas in your home where screens are not allowed, such as the bedroom, the dining room, or the living room. This will help you avoid the temptation of using devices when you are supposed to sleep, eat, or socialize. It will also reduce your exposure to blue light, which can disrupt your sleep quality and circadian rhythm.
Turn off notifications. The fourth step is to turn off or mute the notifications from your devices, such as calls, texts, emails, social media, or news alerts. Notifications can be distracting, stressful, and addictive, as they trigger the release of dopamine in our brain, making us crave more stimulation. By turning them off, you can reduce your screen time and focus on the present moment.
Be a role model. The fifth step is to be a good example for your children and others by following the screen time boundaries you set for yourself and your family. Children learn from their parents' behavior, so if you want them to have healthy screen time habits, you need to show them how to do it. Also, be respectful of other people's screen time preferences, and don't pressure them to use devices more or less than they want to.
By following these tips, you can set better screen time boundaries for the 2024, and enjoy the benefits of screen time without compromising your health, happiness, or productivity. Remember, you don’t have to do all of these at once. Just do the ones you can commit to. The way to develop good habits is to just do a little bit every day.
Happy New Year!