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How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

The Distraction Spiral

Technology, just like the mind, is a very good slave, but a bad master. The technologies by itself are life-giving and useful, but if we are spending the whole day on Twitter, fighting with whoever we don’t agree with, we are ruining our psychological health.

We tend to spiral into the news black hole for hours, but just looking at the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post once or twice a day should be enough.

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How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

How to Dial Back Your Screen Time and Survive Social Media in Quarantine

https://www.gq.com/story/cal-newport-screen-time-coronavirus

gq.com

6

Key Ideas

Surviving Screens In Isolation

There are many people self-isolating due to the escalating pandemic, with their phones being the essential link to the outside world. Technology becomes a double-edged sword, connecting and isolating us at the same time, leading to anxiety-related disorders, and extremely short attention spans.

Accidental Benefits Of Technology

Technology is neutral by itself, and how we use that tool matters. 

  • An email is a great tool, which completely transformed how an office works, though it wasn’t designed for offices.
  • Similarly, the Facebook Like button was designed as a shortcut to writing a good comment, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a tool to measure the popularity of a post.

Solitude In The Age Of Distraction

Spending time alone with your thoughts is extremely crucial, but is increasingly difficult. When you sit with yourself and understand your thought stream you structure your experiences and create a ‘bridge’ of your life and where you want to go.

Without spending solitary time with ourselves we are just adrift with where pop culture, media, and the attention economy takes us.

Readymade Feelings

One of the hidden dangers of technology is how your complex thoughts can be distilled and shortened into an emoji (like a heart or a thumbs up).

Most people, especially youngsters, are not being articulate with their feelings when they have readymade shortcuts to convey their emotions.

Speed Isn't Always Good

There is a misguided notion that speed and efficiency are inherently better. For a few things, fast is fine (like a faster dish cleaner). Being exposed to information in a faster way isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Example: Replying to emails faster and quicker isn’t really optimizing the work, and only increases the pseudo-work in the long run.

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Surviving the worst moments of your life
  • Identify the feeling. Anger? Grief? Sadness?
  • Go ahead and cry if you need to. No shame. It’s healthy.
  • Identify what you could have done better.
  • Forgive yourself and other people involved.
  • Tell somebody close to you how you feel.
  • Don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes.
  • Take a moment to think about all of the things in your life that are amazing.
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The Kids Are All Right

Due to the lockdown, most day-care centres, workplaces and schools are now closed. This has parents grappling with kids using technology at home, consuming media all day.

A few tips that can...

Don't Hand Over The Remote

Don’t just hand over the remote to the kids. Help them choose the right content that is educational, informative, and interesting enough for them to engage in for hours. There are various learning apps that can help them learn subjects, like Sesame Street, Bedtime Math and many others. Resources like Common Sense Media have plenty of content and activities related to healthy living, eating, and scientific fun facts. It helps to gauge your kids interest first and then choose the right media.

Participate With The Kids

While they are engaged in the media, stay with your kids(as much as possible), guide them, help them understand and form connections. Kids would have plenty of questions and providing them timely answers with examples makes the whole exercise fruitful and strengthens your bond with them.

one more idea

Digital minimalism
Digital minimalism

It means using technology with more intention and purpose.

It's a “philosophy of technology use” rooted in reclaiming control and intention back from the devices and platforms that hav...

Techno-maximalism

It promtes the basic idea that technological innovations can bring value and convenience into your life.

It just looks at the positives. And it's view is more is better than less, because more things that bring you benefits means more total benefits. 

Putting FOMO into perspective

If you want to maximize the amount of value you feel in your life, you want to put as much of your time and effort as possible into the small number of things to give you huge rewards. 

When you think about it that way, fear of missing out looks like, just mathematically speaking, a really bad strategy.