Who hasn't experienced this: We actually wanted to put the smartphone away a long time ago, but we're still glued to our devices. The pull of the digital world is getting stronger and stronger. Many of us - as well as young people - are finding it increasingly difficult to control it. In an age of constant accessibility and extensive use of digital media, "offline time" is repeatedly recommended as a way to reduce "digital stress" in everyday life. Digital Detox can be a good starting point for reflecting on one's own media consumption and changing it in a meaningful way.
Almost all current social networks and services function according to the principles of digital attention. They are designed in such a way that more and more time is spent on social media than originally planned. Through comparisons with unattainable ideals of beauty or confrontation with hate messages, cyberbullying, fake news or content relevant to youth protection, social media use can have an additional negative impact on well-being. Recent studies show that the type of content we consume and how we consume it can also have negative effects on our sense of happiness or our body perception.
In order to achieve digital well-being, young people also need to be exposed to content that does them good and encourages them. Using media in a meaningful way and, for example, creating content themselves and using it creatively instead of just passively consuming it can also be fulfilling. In our material "Ommm online - How we increase our digital well-being", young people will find tools with which they can regulate technologies and thus increase their digital well-being. This also includes creating a healthy balance in media and technology use and, for example, abstaining from media for a while.
When we use digital services, the reward center in the brain becomes active. So we feel a form of happiness when we get likes and positive comments on our postings. If no measures are taken to control this, it can develop into a digital addiction.
Even children and young people are at risk of developing excessive use of digital devices, as several studies on the usage behavior of children and young people confirm. For example, a study commission ed by the DAK found that by the end of 2020, 8.2% of the children and young people surveyed were already exhibiting usage behavior that was classified as at least risky in terms of usage time. A particular focus was on gaming and the use of social media services.
You can counteract excessive use with a few tricks:
- Turn off all or most app notifications to be less distracted in your daily life. How to block app notifications is explained e.g. Handysektor.
- Clear the main screen at and keep only the apps you use regularly.
- Operate self-monitoring and check how often and how long you use your phone. To do this, you can, for example, download an app that lets you see how often you look at your phone. Make sure to use privacy-compliant apps when doing this. Many services such as YouTube or Instagram and operating systems such as iOS offer the option of documenting screen time or setting limits. iPhone users (from iOS 12) will find the"Screen time" function in the settings. With the help of monitoring, you become more aware of your actual usage time. This can help you to minimize your usage times permanently.