Short introduction to the Module
Being able to use technological tools responsibly is a great skill and it makes us perform better at work, develop our interests, learn new skills, communicate with our loved ones and much, much more. However, using technology can be a double-edged sword, making our performance at work and our relationships with family and friends worse. In this case, stress will increase and other negative effects may follow. The good news is, that it is possible to manage excessive Internet, and paradoxically, a great help in this can be... technology. There is a variety of applications that will allow us, first of all, to understand the scale of our problem. These applications will show us how much time we actually spend online (not how much we think we spend) and how we spend it (whether it's learning new skills or rather endlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram).
Try to find apps that will help you reduce the time you spend on unwanted online activities. In our module we give you some examples of apps that you can use, like:
StayFree, AppUsage, Your Hour, My Phone Time.
Experiment and look for one that you think is best suited to you.
Focus on time as well. Use an app (your smartphone may already have one) to monitor the time you spend on certain sites/apps. You may be shocked how much you underestimated the time you spend online.
The last element is critical thinking. Try to develop a critical attitude towards your online activities and try to use the Internet in a more conscious way in order to get the best out of it.
Remember also that there is nothing wrong with surfing the internet, checking social media, and watching cat videos! However, limiting such behaviours and understanding how destructive they can potential be to you is the first step in using them more aware.
Observe how you react to such a "detox". Don't challenge yourself with overly ambitious plans and don't be frustrated if you can't achieve the results you want right away. This is natural. Each of us experiences weaknesses. Remember, it is always a good decision to seek professional help in the process of reducing unwanted behaviour. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Summary of the actions
The main points that you have learnt in the technology use module are to:
Track how you spend your time online and try to find out how much time you spend on which websites/apps (maybe there are 3-4 specific ones on which you consume the most time);
- Use the online time tracking application;
- Remove unnecessary applications (you can also return to factory settings);
- Make a list of the applications you need;
- Be careful what apps you install on your smartphone (pay attention to what information they collect about you and whether they come from a trusted source;
- Prepare your detox plan;
- Check how your body reacts to a technological detox;
- Try to introduce critical thinking principles.
Extra tips & information
For a start, try to limit the time you spend on social media while you' re at work. Try to organise free time away from your computer and phone (a meal, a walk, exercise, talking to colleagues). Remember, it can be difficult at first.
Try tracking and recording whenever you check your smartphone. You may find that you check it every so often (short pauses of a few seconds to check if something has been received can be very effective in reducing your productivity).
If a certain method doesn't work for you, then just try something else. But give it a chance and see over a period of time if it has the intended effect.
Motivational speakers (even the most popular ones) often spout a lot of things that are simply not true (usually not intentionally) and offer solutions that may do more harm than good. This is where critical thinking plays a role. Instead, look for solutions in scientific publications or from authors who are supported by the scientific community.
Get advice from a specialist! Remember that contact with a professional may be the best step towards fighting addiction.
Links to applications mentioned in the action card:
App Usage - Manage/Track Usage
Quit social media | Dr. Cal Newport | TEDxTysons
The CURE to Social Media Addiction | It’s Not What You Think