How to avoid using your devices too much during the pandemic


new scientist becca caddy

IN RECENT years, many of us have made concerted efforts to reduce the amount of time we spend using our devices. A 2019 study found that one in four people had made changes to how they use their tech by deleting apps, reducing notifications and consciously cutting down the time they spend on social networks. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened – and for many, such practices went out the window.

In one survey, 46 per cent of people said they had increased their smartphone use throughout 2020. According to another, internet users in the UK spent an average of 4 hours online each day in April 2020 compared with 3.5 hours in September 2019. As expected, as our in-person interactions went down, the time we spent on screens went up.

The relationship between tech and mental health is a tricky one and far more nuanced than attention-grabbing headlines might have us believe. However, a growing body of evidence suggests possible links between the amount of time we spend on social media and a negative impact on our well-being.

Featured image via Michelle Urbano for New Scientist.

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