5 ways to manage screen time these holidays
At Chorus we’re all about encouraging Kiwis to embrace the digital world and make the most of the world class broadband we now have in Aotearoa. At the same time, we also appreciate life’s about balance and that excessive screen time isn’t great for your wellbeing.
So with the holiday season upon us, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help you take a breather from your device. We’re not talking about going cold turkey on the internet, it’s 2020 after all! It’s more about replacing your bad internet habits with some healthier choices.
Here’s how to make that happen.
- Work out the good vs. the bad
First things first, it’s a good idea to work out what’s helpful versus harmful screen time when you’re trying to de-stress and unwind from what has been a big year. This can be different for each of us, but you’ll quickly work out what that means for you.
For example, scrolling endlessly through Instagram checking out how celebrities are spending their holiday rather than enjoying your own holiday, probably isn’t great for your mental health. Likewise, reading endless doom and gloom about Covid-19 and its consequences (things you already know) may not give you that good holiday feeling.
In contrast, it’s a great opportunity to have a long-winded chat with your loved ones over a video call if you’re unable to see them in person this year. Or you may finally get time to kick back and stream that movie you’ve been wanting to watch on Netflix.
- Come up with some achievable goals
Before you clock off for the year – set some achievable digital goals and try to stick to them.
Most phones and tablets have a feature in your settings where you can see how much screen time you’ve gone through, try and set a time limit and not go past it unless necessary.
It’s also a good idea to think about the various apps that you need and what you just click on out of habit and aim to steer away from the ones that don’t really matter when on holiday.
If it helps, delete the apps from your phone or take them away from your favourites list on your browser, that way you won’t be tempted to click on them. Don’t worry - this won’t totally delete your social media profiles so you can get back to scrolling once the break’s over if you really want!
- Set expectations
If you think you may be required to do some work over the holidays, talk to your colleagues before you go away about when you’ll be online and available. Alternatively, set out your available times in a shared calendar, or make it clear in your automatic out-of-office email response when you’ll be tending to your emails.
By setting this expectation, your work mates won’t expect a reply from you until the time you’ve indicated, which will hopefully prevent them from persistently contacting you outside of those hours.
Likewise for friends and Whanau, let them know you’re disconnecting from your device for a bit but will check your messages a couple of times a day. Or lock in a time to have a good natter over Zoom.
- Create no-phone or tablet zones
When you don’t need your phone or tablet, try and keep it in another room.
The bedroom is a great place to keep the phone out. There’s plenty of research to show that people who keep phones in their bedrooms sleep more poorly due to the blue light from the phone tricking our minds to think it’s daytime, and the content we consume keeping our minds ticking over.
To prevent the temptation, plug your phone into its charger in the living room overnight so you can catch those well needed Zzzzz’s. You can always have it on loud outside the bedroom door for an alarm, or important phone calls you don’t want to miss.
Another great holiday rule, (actually, just a general rule!) is to keep all devices away from the dinner table. Sit down with your friends and family, enjoy the conversation and food in front of you. Or if you get some alone time, simply look out the window and take in the peace and quiet.
- Remember, you're in charge
It’s your holiday, so your choice. Let’s be honest, technology and the internet make our lives more efficient, provide us with entertainment and information and plenty more positive things. Put yourself first and think about what makes you happy and what sort of screen time does that for you. We all deserve a break this year!
To prevent buffering when streaming your holiday movies or lagging when video calling your friends and Whanau that are perhaps stuck overseas as a result of Covid-19, make sure you have a fast and reliable broadband connection like fibre. To see if fibre is available at your address, use our broadband checker.