Forty percent of adolescents worry their parents are addicted to, or spend too much time on, their mobile devices. Sixty percent of parents, meanwhile, believe their children are addicted to their mobile phones. This is according to a recent survey conducted by Michael Robb, senior director of research for Common Sense Media, and James P. Steyer, Common Sense Media’s chief executive.
Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced society, it has become increasingly difficult to disconnect. And yet, for many, easing up on Internet usage in the summer is the only way to truly relax and prevent burnout. How does one take an “Internet Vacation,” though? Here are a few tips:
Create Goals: The first step is making a conscious decision to curb your Internet usage. Disconnecting for more than a few days will be very difficult unless you are committed.
Once you’ve chosen to take this step, set practical and realistic goals. Do you need your mobile device for work? To connect with your children at camp? Can all your Internet usage take place at one time or does it need to be spread out over the course of the day?
Take your particular situation into consideration, decide how often you’d like – and need – to access your mobile device this summer and then form a deliberate plan on how and when you’ll use it.
Take Advantage of Screen Time Restrictions: Some smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, have a setting that allows you to control your screen time. This setting, appropriately called Screen Time, permits you to block apps and notifications during pre-determined intervals. It also enables you to set time limits on your apps; once the allotted time is up, you receive a notification that your time has expired and the app closes.
Take a Break from Social Media: Once you decide to disconnect, you might wish to sneak “a quick peak” at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook every so often – which is why it’s important to remove them from your phone.
If the thought of not being able to check your favorite social media sites makes your heart flutter just a little bit, try to take a step back, relax, and unwind. Remember: You can always post your summer vacation pictures when you return home.
A vacation from social media will give you a much-needed mental break and ensure that you enjoy your vacation and live in the moment instead of subconsciously comparing yourself to, or checking up on, others. Even if you only use social media for entertainment, it is human nature to – unintentionally, of course – feel a little “less than” when you see glossy images of other people’s ostensibly exciting lives.
Leave Your Phone Out of the Bedroom: If possible, do not put your phone near your bed at night. The blue light your phone emits can disrupt your sleep even if you use it two hours before bedtime. If you need downtime before going to bed, read a book instead of browsing the Internet. It will help you sleep better and feel more rested the next day.
Remove Work-Related Apps: An increasing number of workplaces are recognizing the benefit of allowing their employees to completely disconnect from work when on vacation. The reason? They realize relaxed and stress-free employees are more productive and creative. If you are fortunate enough to belong to such a company, you can remove work apps from your phone so you won’t be tempted to check them on vacation.
If your company does not recognize the inherent value of disconnecting, you can always remove all notifications from work-related apps or e-mails while on vacation and only check them at a designated time each day.
Fill the Void: Browsing the Internet takes a chunk of time out of your day and, at times, can make you feel “connected” to like-minded individuals. Not going on the Internet will create a void, so fill it with healthy activities like playing with your children, cooking or gardening with your friends, bonding with people you love and care about, and creating memories. Without filling the void, you will have a much harder time disconnecting.
Preventing burn out, unwinding, and essentially making your mental health a priority is integral to being a more productive, energetic, and focused person. The tips above can help make the process just a little bit easier.