According to statistics, the average adult spends 9 to 10 hours on their screen. It’s either TV shows, active social media use, gaming on handheld devices and working on computers. We all seem to be increasing the time we spend on the screen. Related studies also show that increased screen time changes how our brains work in ways that science is unravelling.
It makes sense that spending hours laughing and/or arguing on social media invariably affects our thinking pattern. While there are some upsides to the effect of screen time on our lives, such as reduction in anxiety, many others lead to more toxic consequences.
The good news is that we can reduce the damage by cutting down on our screen time and filling our time with healthier, less technology-dependent hobbies. Here are a few suggestions.
Bring back board games
Bring them all back; scrabble, monopoly, chess, the works! Apart from their cognitive benefits, they also build and strengthen social skills in our increasingly solitary world, as they usually require two or more players.
Pick up a book
If you can’t be bothered to engage in less solitary activities, you can forgo the internet for a few hours and pick up a book on something you’re interested in learning about. Read far and wide about any and everything, and enrich your imagination.
Find a sport
Could be football, tennis, or any game that involves others if you’re sociable. If you’re the more solitary type, try swimming or other such solo interests, but do something that gets you moving.
Get a pet
Caring for something (or someone) other than ourselves provides immense emotional benefits that far outweigh the costs. Whether it’s a dog or a little goldfish, get a pet and improve its and your well-being.
Start a cause
Is there a social or political issue you’ve always felt strongly about? Do something about it. If it’s hungry children you want to get off the streets around you, draw up a plan, do a cost analysis, pitch your plans to corporate bodies around you for funding as part of their CSR.
If you’re not feeling particularly revolutionary, you can volunteer at an already existing organisation that does work you believe in, whether it’s a corporate body or a religious NGO. Apart from doing something to feel good about, you also build a more interesting résumé and gain valuable experience.
Whatever you choose to do, the bottom line is that you put your gadgets down for a few more hours every day, and improve your quality of life. What do YOU do to reduce your screen time?