Disconnecting From Your Devices
By: Jean Pierre Bravo, MA AMFT 118676
Technology has benefited our lives in so many ways and connected us in ways that we would never have imagined, but being on your phone for a long time can be detrimental. Our bodies are not programmed to sit down and look at screens all day. I consider using your devices for a long time to be technology overuse. Overusing your device can cause low self-esteem, sleep issues, and ultimately make us feel negative about our current lives.
How does technology affect your self-esteem? It’s not necessarily the phone but what that tool is used for that we must examine. Many people spend their time watching Netflix and Youtube, going on Instagram, and watching Tick-Tock reels all day. People tend to have a hard time distinguishing real-life connections from virtual connections and will tend to believe more in their online selves than their actual selves. People are currently strung up and focused on the number of followers one has and think that more followers equal more success and more likes equal more happiness. Additionally, technology can make you have a negative perspective on your life because people tend to use their devices to compare themselves to others. We used to hear the grass is greener on the other side, but I feel like that term doesn’t relate to today’s generation. Instead, they see life is better on the other side of the screen. People spend so much time seeing snippets of people’s lives, mainly the joyous and glorified moments of people’s life and neglect the knowledge of creation and fantasy which hides behind its lie. People tend to see other people on social media with bigger houses, nicer cars, and people with many friends and “healthy” relationships and think to themselves, why don’t I have that. We must remember that apps and social media are businesses and just like any business it intends to make money not make you happy. Even though going on social media may be entertainment we must consider how much time is spent on these applications. Due to COVID-19 many of us were forced to use our computers for 8 hours a day for work but then would jump to our phones before, between, and after work too.
Technology affects people’s sleep because they tend to be on their devices right before their bedtime and/or sleep with their phones. Firstly, a lot of people don’t realize that Melatonin, the chemical responsible for sleep, is only produced in the brain only when light is absent in the environment, thus if there is light entering your eye then Melatonin is not being produced. Additionally, we keep exposing our eyes to the bright lights of our devices which causes our body to stop producing Melatonin and stunting the sleep cycle. Not only that, our devices tend to emit a lot of blue light which causes us to blink less, causes more eye strain, and has been shown to have faster-aging effects on the eye.
In conclusion, I wanted to give you some tips and tricks to have a better relationship with your phone and devices. I would recommend you use the 20-20-20 rule which stated if you look at a screen for 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help ease the strain of your eyes. Also, there are revolving studies that show that 2-3 hours is what would be considered a healthy amount of phone usage, and anything over that would be considered an unhealthy amount so try and use your phone less. Luckily, nowadays you can check your screen time and see how much time you are actually on your phone and it also calculates your average and gives you information about which apps you’re spending your time on. Also, it would be wise to keep your devices away from you at night and put your phone on a counter across the room from your bed and turn off your devices at least one hour before your bedtime. Furthermore, wearing glasses that block blue light or changing your settings on your devices to night mode can benefit you as well. Lastly, one must remember that we need to disconnect ourselves from our devices at least one hour before trying to go to sleep to retain our normal circadian rhythm and be able to fall asleep naturally with the production of Melatonin. I hope this gives you awareness as to how much you’re using your devices and what you can do about it and also encourages you to use your phone less.