Everyone has had that moment where they’re so disgusted with their relationship with tech they want to disconnect and go off the grid. Maybe it comes from opening your phone and seeing too many meaningless notifications. Perhaps you saw a Facebook post of someone complaining and couldn’t take it anymore.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to use these moments to address the tech in your life. No, you don’t need to throw your phone away or delete all of your social media accounts. Instead, use your frustration as an opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate how you’re using tech in your life.
The Two-Edged Sword That Is Tech
It isn’t a secret that tech has a lot of benefits. For instance, it:
- Improves communication.
- Makes everyday life easier.
- Boosts efficiency and avoids waste.
- Provides unique access to near-infinite information.
Of course, we all know that tech can be really bad, too. For example, it:
- Compromises privacy.
- Adds a new category of cost to everyday life.
- Creates intense dependencies and addictions.
- Can lead to psychological, social, and physical health concerns.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that there are both pros and cons here. For every good thing related to tech, you can often find a correlating negative element and vice versa.
In other words, the positives and negatives of technology make it a two-edged sword. It is an instrument of immense power that you can use for good. However, if treated without respect, it can also cause unintended harm to the user.
That means you shouldn’t do away with tech wholesale. Instead, take the time to seriously consider how you’re using technology. Take into account both the quantity and quality of your usage in an attempt to improve your relationship with technology.
Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Tech
As is the case with any unhealthy relationship, if you feel your connection to tech is becoming unhealthy (or has already been that way for a long time), you need to do something about it. Here are a few suggestions for ways to improve your relationship with tech without cutting it out of your life entirely.
Start Addressing Tech at a Young Age
It’s never too young to consider how technology is impacting you. If you’re a teenager, don’t use your youth as an excuse to load up on every app and piece of hardware that your peers are using. Seriously consider how each piece of technology is benefiting you. If your assessment shows that something isn’t adding value to your life, reduce or eliminate it from the picture.
If you’re a parent, don’t overestimate the importance of your tech-related responsibilities with your children. Avoid leaning on things like television and tablets too often.
Smartphones are the biggest challenge. The ability to stay in touch with your child is invaluable. However, you don’t want to give them full access to a smartphone. Brad Anderson, editor in chief at ReadWrite recommends using Gabb Wireless — or a similar child-friendly phone network — to maintain communication and connection with a child without exposing them to the dangers of a fully equipped smartphone.
Whether it’s a tailored smartphone, thoughtful television, or earned tablet time, there are many ways to begin developing healthy tech habits at a young age.
Avoid Tech Before Bed
There are times when tech is appropriate and then there are times when it’s not. Bedtime should always fall on the latter side of the equation.
One of the biggest problems here is technology’s dependency on blue light to operate. Regardless of the screen in question, if you’re using tech, there’s a high probability that you’re soaking in some azure rays.
Blue light exposure is fine in moderation. It’s also okay to interact with blue light throughout your day. However, when it comes time to dim the lights and go to sleep, blue light should be nowhere in sight.
Researchers at Harvard Health studied blue light’s effect on people. Their resulting recommendation? Avoid blue light for two to three hours before bed.
That is a serious amount of time. You can’t just put your phone down while you’re brushing your teeth. It means ditching your late-night Netflix binging and avoiding staring at your smartphone for hours after work.
How can you do this? By setting up some boundaries.
Set Up Boundaries
Boundaries are critical in the technological era. Consider this. Technology makes it possible to access entertainment at any time. It also enables you to work around the clock. You can even do things like order food and go shopping no matter the time or place.
Life is no longer controlled by a natural circadian rhythm. That means it’s vital that you set your own boundaries — especially where technology is concerned. You can do this by:
- Setting limits on your app usage.
- Turning off all electronic devices at a certain point before bed.
- Using your “Do Not Disturb” function to avoid inundating your life with notifications.
It’s also a good idea to go through and purge your technology on a regular basis. Get rid of unneeded hardware. Delete apps that you aren’t using (or that are soaking up too much of your time).
As you strive to restore a sense of balance in your relationship with technology, keep in mind the actual worth of each piece of tech in your life. Remind yourself of the words of best-selling author and life coach John Maxwell that “you cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
Where are you inflating the importance of tech in your life? How can you use things like boundaries and bedtimes to reduce these dependencies? How can you help the next generation do the same? If you can answer these questions, you can truly embrace a “less is more” attitude with tech and ensure that you’re maximizing its pros and minimizing its cons in every area of your life.
Image Credit: Flo Dahm; Pexels; Thank You!