In this age of incessant information and push notifications, digital well being is more than just a trending hashtag. It is a way of achieving a perfect balance between our physical and digital life by controlling our daily exposure to screen time. Interaction with the virtual world and the endless quest for acceptance and appreciation from netizens can sometimes result in tech induced anxieties as documented in recent studies. Digital well-being initiatives help us take control of our smartphones and other web browsing devices to set boundary conditions and encourage downtime.
Taking a break from their smart devices, more and more users are valuing their leisure time and looking to do something refreshingly different. Families are cutting down on screen time and sitting down for simple, fun games together. Couples are joining cooking classes and gyms to spend some quality time discussing what else they would love to do together. Elders and friends are merely taking a stroll around the park, reminiscing about good old times. Others are taking off on vacations to break away from over-dependence on tech as a way of life. Simply put, people are disconnecting to re-connect.
While users currently surf seamlessly across all interconnected devices when they are active, they find it difficult to log out of their virtual worlds even when they are inactive. Constant beeps and notifications remind them of what all they are missing out when they are offline. This has not escaped the attention of tech majors who have incorporated the concept of digital well-being in their products and policies.
Google took note, and its annual conference 2018 promoted JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) to encourage users to leave back their phones home. Youtube mobile applications currently have an option for a pop-up reminder where viewers are prompted to take a break after a certain pre-set duration of streaming. Android phones with version Android 10 and above come with app timers and digital well-being dashboards, which allow users to keep a check on-screen time and repeated app usage. The same conditions can also be set on the Chrome browser to manage your time spent on websites. It also ensures that you can disconnect from the virtual world at bedtime by turning on grayscale and temporarily pausing all distracting apps.
Facebook has recognized the need for ‘Digital Wellness’ and has made it a policy to show users updates from their near friends and families before exposing users to a stream of paid, marketed, and curated content. The Instagram app comes with a built-in feature that informs users that they have caught up with all news feeds in the past 24 or 48 hours and, there is nothing new at this point, encouraging users to take a break.
The definition of Digital well being runs the risk of getting oversimplified. It is not merely focused on limiting screen time for browsing particular social media applications. It is about ensuring a balance between online and offline activities. Tools and applications can ensure users receive more updates on their diverse passions like cooking or even joining a virtual Taekwondo club through meaningful posts and refreshing videos. Youngsters today are filling up their walls with heartwarming positive stories of their growing up, giggling, solo singing or even a video of their moms merrily singing out loud in the kitchen. Hitherto neglected moments are getting a loud reverberation on social media, adding up to a sense of strong bonding and belonging. When a user goes back to the real-life, it is not with a hangover but with a rejuvenated mind.
Image Credit: Instagram
A survey conducted by Cewe reflected, while 56% of respondents confirmed that looking back at old photos makes them feel happy, 31% felt relaxed by throwback pics. Whether it is a snap of your first-ever solo tour, your first pic with your better half, or your participation in the #MeAt20 challenge, nostalgic pics have is the perfect dose for Digital well being with their soothing effect.
Image Credit: Instagram
Digital Wellbeing is all about designing and promoting technology for a healthy use towards a healthy lifestyle. Technology has become an integral part of our present-day life. It is our relationship with technology that decides whether we can keep our life simple or get overwhelmed by it. Instead of acting as a distraction, technology should gel into our daily way of life and instill a sense of connectivity and general well being.
Maintaining a correct balance between the real and virtual lives is of utmost priority in today’s age where technology has pervaded all aspects of our daily life. Technology is here to stay. More than smart devices, digital well being requires smart users who can leverage technology to improve the overall quality of daily lifestyle.
Tags: Digital trends, digital well being, Digital wellness, Instagram, Social Media