Why did I go from social media training to a digital wellbeing?
The first real trigger for me was when my middle daughter said to me “mum, you’re always on your phone. You’re not listening to me”. She was 5 years old at the time and it was the height of the pandemic. During the pandemic my phone was my way of working around my three children, particularly because my youngest was only 17 months old when the pandemic hit. As a result, it was very difficult to sit at my computer and work, so I would work from my phone and it soon became an attachment of my hand.
When we started to emerge back in to normal life, I found that it was still in my hand more often than it should have been. I had definitely become addicted. I would switch from Instagram to Facebook to Twitter, back to Instagram and then check my emails. I’d check other apps and it would go round and round with no end purpose. The addiction was having that piece of technology in my hand.
The reality is, many apps are designed to be addictive. They are designed to keep us engaged because that is how they make more money (watch my video on why we are addicted to our phones here!). And I knew that I wasn’t alone in my addiction. I started to pay attention to people walking along the road looking at their phones, parents sat on park benches looking at their phones, people in waiting rooms looking at their phones…it’s everywhere isn’t it?!
As I have a background in psychology, this really piqued my interest. Why are we all addicted to our phones and how can we overcome this. I started reading a number of books but the one that probably had the most profound impact was Johann Hari’s Stolen Focus. It really got me thinking about the impact that this is going to have on our society going forward, and the impact it is having right now.
Since then, I’ve drastically reduced my phone use. I’m sleeping better, which is definitely a result of not looking at my phone when going to bed. I feel more fulfilled. I’m achieving more out of life because I’m not wasting hours of every day scrolling on my phone.
The average phone screen time here in the UK is 4 hours a day. That’s two whole months a year we are spending on our phones (without sleep!). I know that by doing other activities that fill up my cup that I’m getting more out of life. My mental health has also improved and I feel so much happier.
But it does take time to reduce that use. It’s not simply a case of deciding to reduce your use and just not picking up your phone. It’s like telling a smoker to stop smoking but leaving a packet of cigarettes in their pocket at all times! It takes time and step-by-step action to reduce that use.
It’s not about never using our phones again. They are such useful tools after all! It’s about understanding how we can reduce that use and that positive impact that can have on your life.
So, that’s the mission I’m on! To help you reduce your phone use! If you would like to reduce your phone use, then take a look at my short course HERE!
Watch the video to learn more: