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How to Understand and Monitor Your Media Intake

Hello everyone, my name is Tatiana Mancera. I am a senior communication studies major with a double concentration in multimedia journalism and media production and double minors in sports management and sports psychology. I am also a member of the women’s soccer team. In the Fall 2020 semester, I had an opportunity to intern with the Allan P. Kirby Center as a communication intern, and I was fortunate to have been given the chance to stay with the center for the Spring and Fall 2021, as well as the Spring 2022 semester. I am currently a scholar of marketing.

To put it simply, I think we can all agree that technology has provided us with countless tools that make life easier, more enjoyable and expedient. However, we have succumbed to the hands of smartphones, tablets and computers. We live our lives through our phones, often ignoring the moment we are living in. Technology is advancing society, but also declining the psychological and physical health of all who partake in it.

Psychological and Physical Impact

In order to understand technology’s role on our lives, we must first know the psychological and physical impacts of technological addiction.

In thinking about psychological impacts, isolation is a very real side effect of too much time spent on technological devices and away from outdoor or social activities.

According to Medical News Today, those between the ages of 19-32 that use social media religiously are three times more likely to feel isolated than those who do not use social media as often.

In some cases, too much isolation online can lead to or worsen depression and anxiety. Social media has provided young kids and even adults with platforms to express themselves how they want. However, that has created room for cyberbullying or people feeling as though they have to fit social norms to be accepted.

In terms of physical effects that have been caused by society’s technological addiction, eyestrain is the first to touch on. If screen time is constantly at a high number, you could be straining your eyesight. Secondly, one’s posture may take a toll. Technologies promote a down and forward position causing the user to be hunch backed, placing a great load of stress on the neck and spin. On top of that, sleep problems may occur. The blue light in our phones has been known to disturb the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Finally, physical activity may be limited because of the sedentary nature that technology inherently promotes. This can lead to more serious health effects such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Tips for Managing Better Phone Habits

It is more important than ever to stress good phone habits. The following are a few tips that I have that have taught me to put my phone down and break my addiction habits:

Tip #1: Use apps to help your self-control

There are countless apps out there that have been designed and suited for everyone’s habits. These apps have been proven to help limit the amount of screen time you have on your devices. Each of these apps can help you take a break from your device and rest your mind. Such apps include:

  1. Flipd

  2. Moment

  3. Forest

  4. Space

  5. RealizD

  6. Flora

  7. Freedom

Tip #2: Change your devices settings

If you do not feel like downloading any new apps, you can always go to your settings on your device and do the following:

  1. Go to settings and set realistic limits on how long you can be on a certain app or your phone for a day

  2. Turn off your notifications

  3. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”

  4. Move your apps away from your home screen

  5. Delete the apps or sign out of them

Tip #3: Start small

If you can not set limits or use apps, create a to-do list and write down everything you need to do. Make a rule for yourself that once you get everything done, you can use your device as a reward.

Tip #4: Pick up a hobby and take a day off

Even though you can set limits on how much you can use certain apps or your device as a whole, it is important to take time away. Find other interests such as reading, hiking and logging off for one day out of the week. Make sure you rest your mind and eyes. Enjoy being in the moment and do not be glued to your device.

Always remember that if you feel as though you are missing out, you are not. Your wellbeing matters more than what is going on online and documenting your entire life is not truly living.

Thanks for reading and do not forget to take time to enjoy the space around you!

- Tatiana

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