Glued to your phone? Here's 5 tips to reduce screen time
by Aleczander Gamboa on Sunday 12 February 2023
3 min read
If you have a smartphone, you probably get an alert at the end of every week detailing your screen time. For some, it’s insightful. For others, it can be deeply cringy — a confronting reminder of how much time we really spend our devices. In fact, the average screen time globally is now 6 hours and 58 minutes per day.
Reducing your screen time can come with a slew of benefits, including:
- Longer, quality sleeps
- Strengthening connections by encouraging face-to-face communication
- Having more time for other activities, like exercise and hobbies
Here are five creative ways to reduce your screen time.
1. Create device-free times or areas in your home
Choose areas of the home where face-to-face communication is encouraged. The dining room, bedroom and lounge room are great places to start. By reducing screen time, you can encourage conversations that build connection instead of relying on your phone to fill in time.
Alternatively, you can allocate certain times of the day where screen time is prohibited. Some examples could be just as you wake up, on your lunch break, during dinner and just before bed.
2. Track your time
When you actively commit to tracking screen time, it makes it easier to put it down and limit accessibility to apps you regularly use.
If you have an iPhone, use the Screen Time function in the Setting app. Android users can also do so through the Digital Wellbeing tools within Settings. From there, set time limits. For example, if you’re spending too long on TikTok, you can adjust your phone settings to turn off the app after an hour of use.
If that’s too hard, the Pomodoro method could be useful. You set aside 25 minutes of screen time, and then a 5-minute break.
3. Go for a walk or to the shops and leave your phone behind
Have you ever done the body pat down to ensure you’ve got your wallet, keys and phone before leaving the house? Well, this time around, consider leaving your phone behind. It sounds terrifying, but hear us out! As the famous saying goes — out of sight, out of mind.
If your phone isn’t with you physically, then you won’t be compelled to check it every now and then. You’ll be able to focus on everything else, such as connecting with the company you keep and basking in the environment around you.
4. Check your ‘pickups’
We’ve all experienced the scenario of picking up your phone for a quick Instagram scroll, only to realise hours have suddenly flown by!
You’re not alone. Research by Finder found the average Australian spends 150 minutes on their phone per day. Of the 1,058 respondents in the research, 1 in 6 (16%) admit to staring at their device more than 5 hours every day. That’s 76 full days a year.
A great way to reduce your pickups is to count how many times you do it. Consider even tracking it in a notebook, then aim to reduce the number slowly every day.
5. Switch to grayscale
Part of our attraction to screens are the colours we see on it and the emotions they evoke. Ever noticed why social media apps like Meta, Twitter and Instagram use a blue and white interface? Those colours are associated with feelings of calmness and peace.
Removing the colours reduces visual appeal and as a result can reduce screen time. So switch it up for a week and see if there is any change in the way you engage with your phone.
For iPhone users, head into Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Colour Filters. Toggle the switch so the grayscale option appears.
For Android users, go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Wind Down. You can turn on grayscale mode or schedule it for a later time.
Stop scrolling and listen instead
Sometimes, the silence from not using your phone can feel a little odd and unsettling at first. So while you go about your day, open up your mind and listen to our health and wellbeing podcast called, Virgin Active Minds.
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