Digital Wellbeing | How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Technology
As technology becomes more and more integral to everything we do, it can sometimes distract us from the things that matter most to us. It stands to sense that this isn’t a good thing as technology should improve life, not distract from it.
Thankfully help is on the way!
You may have noticed that streaming services like Netflix and YouTube check up on you now and again to see if you’re still watching, and to suggest a break if it seems like you’ve been watching for long periods.
Similarly, most of the big technology providers such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung etc have embraced the digital wellbeing concept and are committed to giving everyone the tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing.
All with the common goal that life, not the technology in it, stays front and centre.
Digital Wellbeing Topics
Digital wellbeing is basically the impact of technologies and digital services on people’s mental, physical and emotional health.
It should be considered in these four contexts:
To best understand digital wellbeing, think of it a term used to describe the impact of technologies and digital services on people’s mental, physical, social and emotional health. It is a complex concept that can be viewed from a variety of perspectives and across different contexts and situations:
- Individual perspective: personal, learning and work contexts: this involves identifying and understanding the positive benefits and any potential negative aspects of engaging with digital activities and being aware of ways to manage and control these to improve wellbeing.
- Societal or organisational perspective: providers of digital systems, services and content have a responsibility for ensuring that these are well managed, supported, accessible and equitable. They also need to empower and build capability in users so that all who engage with them are equipped to do so in a way that supports and/or improves their wellbeing.
Digital Wellbeing Research
Digital wellbeing research has shown although it is important for individuals to take control of their digital wellbeing, they may not always have the opportunity or the ability to manage the impact of technologies or digital services on their lives.
For example, in employment contexts where staff may not be able to make changes or in personal contexts where individuals may not have access to, or be included in, digital opportunities that could have a positive effect on their lives. It is also important to remember that individuals may not have the support or capacity to counteract negative effects of technologies.
Different aspects of digital wellbeing technologies and digital activities can impact on physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing in both positive and negative ways. How far these might affect an individual depends on their personal context, circumstances and capacity to deal with – or take advantage of these impacts.
Digital Wellbeing Experiments
Google has created a collection of ideas and tools that help people find a better balance with technology. The thinking behind them is the more feedback they get, the more they can learn about building better technology for everyone.
Try them out for yourself via this link;
Digital Wellbeing Widgets
Similar to the Google experiments, there are a number of Digital Wellbeing Apps available to download, to for example, help you keep a check on the amount of time you spend on the various electronic devices at our disposal in this day and age.
Digital Wellbeing on Samsung (Android) Phones
On some Samsung and other android phones, you can get info about how you spend time on your phone, like how often you unlock it and how long you use each app. You can use that info to improve your digital wellbeing. For example, you can set app timers and schedule display changes.
Some other things you can do include;
- Find out how much time you spend in apps
- Limit how much time you spend in an app each day
- Reduce distractions when you want to disconnect
- Schedule changes to get ready for sleep
- Temporarily pause distracting apps
- Reduce interruptions
Apple too have launched an update to their IOS which focusses on Digital Wellbeing.
When enabled, Apple’s new digital wellbeing feature offers a number of summary usage statistics – from the number of times you pick up your phone, to the number of notifications you receive, along with the amount of time you spend with apps and websites.
And to manage your screen time, users can set their own time limits and schedules for phone usage, categories of apps or individual apps. These screen time features can be managed for multiple phones from one device if permissions are set.
Digital Wellbeing for PC
Digital addiction seems to be more of a concern on smartphones than other computing devices because of how they are used.
However, Microsoft is very aware of the issue.
The Microsoft Launcher for Android has a built in Screen Time monitor that provides the same type of “digital health” assessment as Google and Apple
Develop Healthy Digital Habits
Get info about your family’s digital activity so you can have a conversation about its meaning. Parents and kids can both view kids’ activity reports of screen time, top websites visited, and terms kids are searching for online.
- Activity summaries
- Weekly email reports
Find Screen Time Balance
Set device limits across Xbox and Windows. Or if your kids will be on devices longer for things like online learning, set time limits on specific apps or games on Xbox, Windows, and Android.
- Apps and game limits
- Device limits
- Screen time requests
Explore Safely with Content Filters
Create a safe space for your kids to explore online. Set healthy boundaries to block inappropriate apps and games and set browsing to kid-friendly websites using Microsoft Edge on Xbox, Windows, and Android.
- Apps and game filters
- Web and search filters
- Content filter requests
Digital Wellbeing Quiz
If you’re wondering what role technology plays in your life, take this Google Quiz to find out the answers – https://wellbeing.google/reflect/
Be sure to share your results in the comments section below!
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