Digital Wellbeing in the new year
2021 was a year of many things, and while digital wellbeing may not have been a priority during the various lockdowns, time spent apart from loved ones, and all the adventures you eventually got to experience again, that doesn't mean that the new year can't be any different. With the help of Leticia Barr, founder of TechSavvyMama, we've put together five helpful tips for unplugging and improving your digital wellbeing in the new year:
TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS
Do you really need to know when a friend posts to Instagram, tags you in a Facebook post, or messages you through Facebook Messenger? You probably don’t need to know when your favorite artist releases something new to Spotify either. It’s hard to have a conversation when there are constant sounds coming from your phone interrupting every other word.
Unplug to enjoy the holidays by turning off social media notifications. To do this, go to your phone settings and look for app notifications.
As you scroll, think about what deserves your immediate attention and is worth being interrupted for. Leave those on and toggle off the rest. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you might not miss!
USE DO NOT DISTURB
After you’ve turned off social media notifications, the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone can be used to take unplugging a step further. Do Not Disturb allows you to mute all calls, alerts, and media except for selected exceptions during a certain timeframe.
I set my Do Not Disturb hours from 10 pm to 8 am every day. During this time, I’ve chosen to hide full screen notifications, app icon badges, pop up notifications, and status bar icons from appearing on the screen. The LED has also been turned off, so my phone won’t even light up during these hours.
ADD PEOPLE TO YOUR FAVORITES LIST
If you’re worried about missing notifications from family and your inner circle of friends because of Do Not Disturb, add them to your Favorites list. I have 7 people on my Favorites List whose calls and texts come through at any time of the day.
This means my husband is always able to reach me. My teens can call or text late at night to let me know when to expect them after being out late with friends. If there’s an emergency, my parents’ call from California will always come through--- even in the middle of the night. My two best friends can send a frantic middle of the night text and know I’ll get it. As much as I want to unplug to enjoy the holidays, it’s also very reassuring to know that those in my circle can always reach me.
USE AIRPLANE MODE
There is one day a week where I gift myself the ability to sleep and wake up when my body is ready. If I’m not having my alarm wake me up, I don’t want other notifications waking me up either. Here’s a secret- I use Airplane Mode to help me get a much-deserved rest.
While it’s helpful to have Do Not Disturb on my phone, there are times I want to sleep a bit longer. I don’t want those notifications to start popping up when the clock turns from 7:59 to 8! Airplane Mode helps me sleep until my body is naturally ready to wake up.
MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR KIDS
As mindful as we are to have conversations about digital safety and create family contracts that outline the use of screens, there are times that we forget to model the behavior we expect. Our kids notice when we sneak looks at our inboxes on our phones, mindlessly scroll, or when we’re distracted by incoming text messages. If we want our kids to connect with us face to face and through in-person conversations, it’s important to truly be present.
This year resolve to unplug to enjoy the holidays and the joy of being with friends and family. You’ll never regret putting your phone down in favor of being together in person.