Overcoming The Distraction Of Technology & Social Media

By Jessica Mitchell

We have a sign in our dining room that reads “No Phone Zone” and even though we don’t always obey its simple phrase, my husband and I are both thankful when we do. I’ve learned that creating physical “No Phone Zones” in my house and by scheduling technology-free hours in my day, I am better able to connect with my family and friends and less likely to get distracted by the all-consuming (albeit widely entertaining) internet.

I’ve worked hard over the past year to overcome the distraction that my iPhone brought into my life, without ridding myself of it completely, as it also has proved to be a very helpful device more often than not. Here are a few ways to use technology efficiently by creating manageable boundaries.

Have a morning ritual that doesn’t involve the phone or computer. I use my phone as an alarm clock, so it is the first object I reach for when I wake up. After shutting off the alarm, I try my best to resist the urge to check my e-mail from bed or look at social media before breakfast. Instead I try to read a book, stretch or walk the dog before checking in on my phone. “Less scrolling, more doing” is a mantra that often comes to mind when I find myself mindlessly scrolling during those early morning hours.

Try a screen free day. As warmer weather returns, try to spend a weekend disconnected from media. Although it may be difficult at first to resist the constant stimulation from a phone or media device, I’ve often found that a day without the internet leaves me feeling more connected with the people I’m around and less caught up in the day to day happenings of everyone else.

Be a good role model. Children love to copy the actions of older siblings and parents. If a child knows that you set limits for your own screen time, it won’t seem as difficult for them to create and respect these boundaries themselves. By curbing your own television viewing or focusing on face-to-face conversations throughout the day, you set an example for those around you.

Ask yourself why. Why do you feel the need to constantly check your phone when waiting in line? Are you bored or are you afraid of making conversation with someone around you? Do you check social media 4-5 times a day because you are fearful of missing out on what others are doing? Once you dig in and identify what parts of technology are unnecessary or distracting in your life, it can help you to create a better relationship with technology as a tool, instead of a hindrance.

Hand held tech devices are an important instrument in today’s society. They keep us connected with people we love, document the world around us and provide a wealth of educational information. Setting limits allows us to enjoy the benefits of technology without being overburdened by the endless distraction they can also provide.

Jessica Mitchell is the Marketing & Design Coordinator at Youth Resources.