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While phones are useful devices to help you stay connected, too much screen time can lead to problems like being distant from real life and having trouble sleeping.
Managing your screen time is easy with the right tips — and even with some help from your phone.
Keeping track of your screen time and using a screen time app can identify how you spend your time.
Limiting screen time usage using an app can curb a phone addiction.
Other ways to cut down on screen time include finding other ways to spend free time, putting the phone away at night, and creating no-phone zones.
Your smartphone can be a convenient device that allows you to stay connected, no matter where life takes you. However, these phones can also use up plenty of your time, whether you’re texting family and friends or scrolling through your favorite apps. Spending too much time on your phone can also contribute to eye strain. Screen time recommendations by age vary, but if you’re concerned that you’re spending too much time on your phone, then you probably are. Read on to discover easy tips that will teach you how to limit screen time and make the most of your free time without a phone in hand.
Keep Track of Your Screen Time
You can have your smartphone or tablet in your hand for too long if you aren’t paying attention to how much time you’re spending on it. After all, it’s easy to reach for a device to stay in touch with friends via text or email or simply browse your favorite apps when you have some free time. So, the first step in managing your screen time is keeping track of it.
Doing so is simple with the help of your smartphone. Many phones, including iPhones, have screen time tracking built right into the software. All you have to do is pull up this information to see how much time you’re spending on your phone. Your phone may even show you where you’re spending the most time. You can see whether you’re most frequently using apps, texting, checking email, or something else. This information can give you insight that can help you limit how much time you spend on those apps.
Think Twice When Reaching for Your Device
Phones and tablets have become a part of daily life, so it’s no surprise that you reach for them throughout the day. If you’re concerned about a phone addiction, then be thoughtful about when you use your device. Consider why you’re getting on your phone. If you’re calling a family member to say hello or responding to a text message, then limit your phone use to just that task. Don’t pick up the phone to respond to a text and then spend the next hour on your favorite apps.
If you’re reaching for your phone simply out of habit or boredom, then re-think how you spend your time. Consider other activities or pastimes to help cut down on your screen time.
Establish Time Limits on a Screen Time App
You can use screen time limits in your phone’s settings to reduce the time you spend on specific apps. For example, you might want to limit your time spent on a social media app to 30 minutes a day. Once you enter the time, your phone will track your time on the app and lock just that app once you’ve reached your limit.
You can also download a screen time app that does the tracking for you. Similar to your phone’s settings, these apps allow you to set time limits for specific features. They’re available on both Apple and Android devices.
Find Alternatives for Downtime
Downtime doesn’t have to call for screen time. Discover other ways to fill your time and give yourself the opportunity to learn a new skill, find a new hobby, or engage with friends face-to-face. Simple activities that can replace scrolling through your phone include reading a book, going on a walk, or inviting a neighbor over for a cup of coffee and a chat. You can try out a new craft or learn a new hobby, such as gardening or watercolor painting. Free up some time by putting the phone down and trying something new.
Being present in screen-free ways can help refresh your mind and body. Give your brain a chance to process natural surroundings, and allow your eyes to rest from the strain caused by too much screen time.
Put the Phone Away at Night to Prevent Phone Addiction
It’s easy to reach for your phone when you’re unwinding for the day. However, staying on your phone at night can spell trouble. According to the Cleveland Clinic, nighttime screen time keeps your mind active, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Even more, your phone gives off blue light, which mimics daylight and can make it harder for your body to produce melatonin that helps you fall asleep.
So, if you find that you’re staying up too late or having trouble falling asleep, then your phone might be to blame. Set aside the final hour or two of your day as phone-free time. Pick up a book or engage in another relaxing activity instead. Sip some caffeine-free tea, put your phone on the charger — preferably away from your bed — and fall asleep without the distraction of a smartphone.
Create No-Phone Zones
Some situations simply don’t call for phones, and you might even be missing out on quality time with family and friends because of device distractions. Identify places, activities, or times of the day that are no-phone zones so that you remain focused on your task. For example, during family meals, you might keep your phone on the charger in another room. When you’re hosting family and friends, you might even consider asking everyone to put their phones away so that you can all focus on quality time and not the distraction of a phone.
While smartphones make it easy to stay connected, they shouldn’t disconnect you from everyday life. If you’re wondering how much screen time is too much, it might be time to set the phone down. These tips make it easier to limit your screen time and make sure you’re staying engaged with life. If you find yourself reaching for your phone too often or having trouble sleeping at night, follow these tips to free up your time and enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. Scroll smartly with your screen time in mind.