Cutting Screen Time: Breaking Habits With 4 Fun Activities
Posted byAlicia Trent
With so many blinking and beeping devices at our fingertips, it’s hard to remember a time before the constant convenience of technology. For adults, too much technology may hinder work-life balance. As for kids, too much screen time can interfere with their ability to read human emotions and understand nonverbal cues, a study in Computers in Human Behavior concludes.1
Breaking habits of technology overload doesn’t have to be boring! Check out these four activities to take technology breaks.
1. Read a Real Book
Reading is a great alternative to screen time. Put the e-readers aside and opt for a good, old-fashioned, physical book. Compared with paper, reading on screens has been found to drain more mental resources, while making it more difficult to retain what you’ve read.2 On the other hand, reading an actual book, turning pages and navigating long texts enhances reading comprehension.
Put the laptop down at night and pick up an engaging page-turner. Instruct your mini-me to do the same. Instead of allowing tablet play before bed, read to your children or even better, ask them to read you a story.
2. Sing Like Nobody’s Listening
Listening to music may sound like another use for your super duper smartphone, but read on. Breaking habits of using your phone or computer for tunes opens a world of other musical options; for example, a little, portable device known as a radio.
Chances are a radio still exists somewhere in your home. Turn on said radio. Close your eyes. Or leave your eyes open and dance around the kitchen. Use the time to soak in the music, rather than checking emails while you listen. Involve your children by inviting them to sing along. Another option? Scrap the radio and sing your own songs with the kids. Research shows that singing improves mood and makes you more positive about life.3
3. Release Through Writing
It may sound like a century ago, but remember when writing didn’t involve a computer screen? Instead of keyboard keys, there was paper and pencil. It’s high time you bring these tools back to life. Rather than vent on social media, use a journal or notebook. Chronicle your day or write about why you’re thankful.
Journaling is a healthy outlet that may improve mental health by reducing stress, managing anxiety and helping cope with depression.4 For children, journaling by hand may enhance their writing skills, and it provides an outlet to express their opinions and emotions. Plus, it’s a perfect way to prompt conversations with your kids about how they’re feeling.
4. Get Busy Moving
Breaking habits of reaching for technology when free time arises may improve physical health. Instead of burying your face in your phone, opt for a pair of sneakers and a jacket. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Visit a neighbor or an old friend. If you’re super committed to breaking habits, leave your phone at home! That may sound crazy, but this way, you won’t be tempted to chat, text, snap, post, share or tweet while you’re enjoying the fresh air.
Outside play for children is critical, according to Psychology Today. When outside, kids learn on multiple levels and their brains develop at a much faster rate than kids who only play indoors. They also do better academically and are better at socializing.5
1“Five days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues.” Computers in Human Behavior 39 (October 2014): 387-92. Accessed January 12, 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214003227.
2Jabr, Ferris. “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.” Scientific American. April 09, 2013. Accessed January 12, 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/.
3“Quality of life (QOL) of older adult community choral singers in Finland.” International Psychogeriatrics 25, no. 7 (July 2013): 1055-064. Accessed January 12, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23574947.
4“Journaling for Mental Health.” Journaling for Mental Health – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. Accessed January 12, 2017. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4552.
5Narvaez, Darcia, Ph.D. “What’s Better: Indoor or Outdoor Play?” April 5, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201404/whats-better-indoor-or-outdoor-play.
- Posted by Alicia Trent
- On March 10, 2017