In the UK, people spend an average of 45 minutes on TikTok, 45 minutes on YouTube and 30 minutes on Instagram a day. That’s a lot of time spent watching other people’s lives. Not only does this impact adults, but teens who are growing up using social media, are now locking themselves away for hours on their phones, causing severe addiction and a deterioration of their mental health.
You may have seen this reflected in Kate Winslet’s recent film I Am Ruth, a heartbreaking story of a mother and daughter struggling to see eye to eye on the damages of phone addiction.
As we’re winding down for Christmas for some much needed quality time with loved ones, we sat down with the founders of luna, the UK’s only app for teen mental health & well-being, to share their tips so we can benefit from a little digital detox heading into the new year.
Turn your notifications off: There’s nothing more distracting than being bombarded with a loud ‘ding’ in the middle of a good conversation. Turn off your notifications and enjoy the silent satisfaction of being in the moment.
Plan different activities with your loved ones that don’t involve using your mobiles: we’re all guilty of it! Go back to basics and plan a walk, suggest a board game or something silly like charades. Reconnect with those around you and you’ll find you’re having more fun than you would watching other people enjoying themselves online. If you find that everyone is on their phones, why not suggest ‘phone free areas’ or put a box in the kitchen and ask everyone to put their phones away for a duration of time Also suggest rules such as no phones at dinner, or during a movie. It’s been scientifically proven that multitasking decreases your ability to concentrate so put that phone away and fully commit to whichever activity you’re doing. Those dancing dog videos can wait!
Resist the urge to document everything: We’ve all become used to posting what we’re up to every moment of the day, but instead of taking photos of what you’re up to, try to be more present in the moment. Store them as memories instead of photos for your feed. If you do want to take a photo, just save them in an album on your phone and enjoy later on. There’s no rush!
Social media can often be triggering and be a mirror for your insecurities: Over the festive season, try not to compare yourself too much to anybody online. If you find yourself feeling frustrated and left empty after scrolling through social media, unfollow or mute anyone who isn’t bringing you positivity. Remember, on social media, people often only show themselves at “their best” and often try to make us think they have “a perfect life”. No one is that perfect in reality.
Set a time limit on certain apps that won’t benefit you: Are you constantly refreshing your emails even though your OOO is on? Going down a TikTok rabbit hole? Viewing your own Instagram story to make sure it’s still funny? As much as #freebritney conspiracy theories and dance challenges are captivating, you’ll find that there’s a lot more you can do to enjoy your spare time. It’s super easy to set time limits on your apps. For example, only allow yourself to access them from 8-9 am and 9-10 pm – if you try to open them outside of these hours, your phone will remind you that the apps are on a time limit. More often than not, you’ll realise you don’t end up opening them at all.
Alter your response to being ‘bored’: If you have a moment spare, instead of opening up your phone, train yourself to respond by doing something that will bring you joy. Read a chapter of a book you loved growing up, have a bath, go outside and get some fresh air, treat yourself to an indulgent drink. The way you physically respond to being bored will affect the way your mind responds too.
Cleanse your phone: We’re not suggesting you light up some sage and start chanting! Go through your apps and delete any you don’t use anymore or bring you stress. You can always remove them from your home screen and reinstall them in 2023.