5 tips to get you started on a healthy tech diet

As a society, we have been spending more time than ever watching videos, browsing social media and swiping our lives away on our tablets and smartphones. According to a new study by market research group Nielsen, an average adult spend more than 11 hours per day on consuming media. Unsurprisingly, teens and tweens are on their screens for 6 to 9 hours too. And if you are a parent, you are also most likely concerned about your child’s technology usage. So as the new year is approaching, let’s consider adopting a healthy tech diet!

Just like the food we consume impacts our physical and mental health, so to does the technology we consume. A healthy tech diet comes from moderating screen-time usage and consuming healthy tech (i.e. creativity, education), limiting snack tech (i.e. certain highly addictive video games & social media), and avoiding toxic tech (i.e. cyber-bullying, pornography).

Many of us would probably agree that consuming a healthy tech diet is beneficial but we may not be ready to put it into practice yet. Perhaps we may think that it is something hard or impossible to achieve. Change is often scary and letting go of old habits is tough. So before you decide to give up the idea of changing your tech diet, read the following 5 tips that can help you get ready for a #TechDietChallenge.

Are you looking to improve your physical, social and mental health? Better sleep, attention span, social interactions and reduced anxiety and stress — these are just some common benefits of a healthy tech diet. Evaluate how your current tech diet has been affecting your life and explore your personal reason(s) for wanting an improved tech diet.

What makes you return to your old tech diet  habits? Boredom? Loneliness? Convenience? Can you replace your screen time with a screen-free activity? E.g., sports, music, arts and crafts, reading, socialising. Or if you are consuming a “toxic” (i.e., cyber-bullying, pornography) or “snack” (i.e., certain addictive video games, social media) tech diet, can you replace it with something healthier (i.e., educational, creativity) ? Identify your own needs and explore as many options as possible.

Studies have shown that individual learning and motivation emerge from collaboration and participation in groups. Let your friends/colleagues/family members know that you are taking on a new challenge to change your tech diet. This way, you will be more accountable to your goals and inspire others to set their own!

A Chinese philosopher said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Transforming your tech diet will not be a one-time effort. You have to be consistent in order to reach your goal. First of all, by breaking down your goal into smaller, easier-to-accomplish ones makes the seemingly impossible, possible. For example, if you are used to reading on your smartphone before bed, spend half the time on it and/or try reading a book instead.

If you happen to relapse, don’t beat yourself up about it. Research has shown that self-critics are much more likely to be anxious and depressed and have lower self-confidence in their abilities, which undermines their potential for success. However, if you have a compassionate response to your struggles, you are recognising that failure and mistakes are inevitable. When we are kind to ourselves, we have more intrinsic motivation — the desire to learn and grow. Therefore we not only take responsibility for our mistakes but acknowledge them with greater equanimity.

Change is tough, but you are tougher! Pledge to a healthier body, mind and soul by joining our #TechDietChallenge that begins in the new year, January 1, 2019.