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It is becoming very challenging to put the phone down. Not only are most people working in front of a screen all day, but most do it at home too. Several people go home after work and sit in front of the TV and browse their phone.
We live a digitalized life. Over 80% of the population owns a mobile device, and 57% of them have more than one type of device. Not only are our electronic devices connected to the internet, but it is also in our car, the fridge, our watch, our games, and even our home. This omnipresence of technology begs the question, how can we free ourselves from an addiction to the digital world?
Here's a short survey that will give you an idea of your relationship with technology. While this is not a scientific survey, it gives you an idea of your relationship with the digital world.
I DON’T KNOW
Do you sleep with your phone next to your bed?
Do you look at social media an hour or less before bed?
Is it hard for you to sit in silence (ex: on your commute or in a car)?
Do you eat most of your meals in front of a screen?
Do you use your phone as an alarm?
Do you check social media while you are at work?
Do you usually check your phone as soon as there is a notification?
Do you turn on the TV when you come home from work?
Do you have a smartwatch?
Would you say that your daily screen time is more than 5 hours a day?
Is looking at your phone an automatic behavior that you don’t always do consciously?
Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep?
Do you struggle with weight?
Do you have difficulty with your attention or concentration?
Do you check your phone or browse social media when you drive?
Do you sometimes feel like your phone vibrate, and yet there are no notifications?
Do you feel anxious if you forget your phone or don’t have access to it for a while?
Does it irritate you when people tell you that you are not listening or paying attention to them while they speak to you?
Would you consider your electronic devices as your most valuable belongings, something you could not live without?
I DON’T KNOW
Now calculate the totals, what do you notice?
Mostly NO: Great, that means that you have found a spot in your life where you use devices and, they don't use you and admittedly don't govern your life.
Mostly YES: This is a sign that this guide is for you. Your life seems to be influenced a lot by your screen time; you might be losing a lot of time and energy on devices that don't fulfill you. Besides, if you said "yes" to almost all the questions, you are likely an artist at escaping reality. It might be time for you to take control of your life. It won't be easy to unplug, but with determination and patience, you will get there!
Mostly I DON'T KNOW: This is not necessarily a good thing. You might be in denial and unable to be aware of your behavior. This guide will help you be more conscious of your habits and how you can live a more fulfilling life.
Whether you want to completely break up with social media or develop a healthier relationship with technology, this guide is here to help you positively change your behaviors. This guide will help you reconnect with your life. After reading this book, you will be able to recognize the actions that affect your physical and mental health and learn how you can adopt more effective habits to be happier.
You will learn about the current state of the digital world, what the impact is on your physical and mental health. We will explore how you can adopt more positive behaviors with technology while finding a way to reconnect with yourself. The last part of this guide is a 21-day plan that will help you break up with technology for good. But first, let's look at what history is and the current state of our digital life.
Chapter 1: The History and Current State of Our Digital Life
Technology has been changing our lives for years, but it hasn't always been for the best. There is a fantastic advancement in the area of health care where people can walk again or communicate with the assistance of technology. On the other hand, technology can also limit us, especially when we become addicted to it.
While the phone was patented in the 1870s, it moved from being a landline to mobile later in history. It is hard to believe that the handheld mobile phone was mass-produced less than 50 years ago, in 1973. So much has changed since. Texting came about 20 years later (1992), and the iPhone was launched in 2007. With its mass presence, it is so easy to forget how life was before the smartphone.
Another technology that is relatively young in history is the internet. The internet became public on August 6, 1991, less than 30 years ago. It has been with us ever since, improving its speed every year and no longer just accessible on computers.
The Current State
It doesn't matter where you live in the world; screen time is becoming a global issue. Over 45% of the world population has a smartphone (which is around 3.5 billion people); this is more than a 30% increase since 2016.
The screen time worldwide is, on average, 6h42min, with no significant difference between gender. In research done in the UK, 99% of children between the ages of 12–15 are online and have an average screen time of 21 hours per week.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) provided some guidelines for screen time and children, there are no guidelines that exist for adults. It is up to us to decide what we believe is an appropriate time we can spend online. It is probably only a matter of time before the government starts publishing recommendations for health concerning screen time.
The next chapters will provide you with more knowledge about the health impact. These chapters will focus on physical and mental health and how it can be affected by our screen time.