I rely on the Internet and social media to do my work but there is no doubt that all this technology can wreak havoc with our health whether we are children or adults - and most of us know this.
According to a Euro RSCG study by Havas Worldwide called ‘This Digital Life', half of the 7 213 surveyed participants believe they spent too much time online and not enough time enjoying life.
Are you one of those who always has a smart phone constantly in your hand, checking your emails and the latest updates on facebook and twitter? Are you concerned that you might be addicted or perhaps those around you might think so?
One poll of social media users found that
- 48% check Facebook/Twitter in bed, during the night or first thing in the morning.
- 56% need to check their Facebook daily,
- 7% would check a text message during sex!
According to Dr. Hallowell (MD) who is the author of 'CrazyBusy: Overbooked, Overstretched, and About to Snap!'
, people who feel they simply must respond to every single email can work themselves into a frenetic state, leading to toxic stress, poor work performance and a breakdown of relationships with family and friends. We have all seen the signs of this.
Your health can definitely suffer
Spending hours in front of a computer screen or constantly screwing up your eyes to look at a smart phone could mean anything from headaches
. Mental health problems can also arise. When you try to do too many things at once – answering emails, updating a spreadsheet, responding to an instant message and catching up on the latest tweets – you don’t get very much done and you’re likely to feel stressed out!
Another health risk is from cell phone and/or wireless radiation
Apart from warning that children should never use cell phones because of their extra vulnerability, Dr. Mercola
says adults should reduce their cell phone use – reserving them for emergencies or important matters only. He also recommends reducing or eliminating your use of other wireless devices. He says: “Only use a cell phone where reception is good and always keep it fully charged because the weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body
What is the solution?
You don't have to go cold turkey but you do have to set boundaries otherwise things could just get worse.
Because it is the means to my livelihood I should not be saying this, but here are a suggested list of Top 10 tips to limit your exposure to technology and social media for a healthier you!
1. Keep track of how long you spend as lots of time can quickly pass by.
2. Don't have social media sites open in a web browser tab all the time but instead, schedule their use by putting on a time limit.
3. Turn off email notifications for social media sites as they encourage more use. Ask yourself if reading an email is more important than spending time with your loved ones?
4. Think before you text/tweet. Are people really interested in every aspect of your daily life? Probably not unless they are close family.
5. Be careful not to replace face-to-face social events with virtual ones.
6. Aim to have mobile phone or computer-free days.
7. Think about those activities that you used to enjoy in the “old days” (before the rise of social media) and take these up again.
8. Switch off email and social networking notifications and preferably, your phone too, when you’re interacting with people face-to-face. Worst sin in my eyes is spending time checking your email and social media when out with friends. They are not getting your full attention.
9. Prioritize for your peace of mind and work through your to-do list systematically without the unnecessary technology ‘noise’.
10. Stop checking work emails after hours, over weekends and during holidays. Tell your boss in a firm manner that if something is urgent and can’t wait until Monday, you can be contacted by phone only as you don’t receive email notifications over weekends.
I have written about making more family time by introducing a no TV Tuesday or Media Free Monday in the home here but perhaps now is the time to take a re-look at your own technology habits.