What each person considers a 'good' amount of time online will vary from person to person, but will an ever-increasing demand for our time directed online, whether it be for work, education, social media, streaming or even gaming, it can be challenging to manage your time online wisely. Because of this constant pull to be online, it can become effortless to get to the end of the day and find yourself having spent the day in front of a device. Therefore, it's crucial to find a balance so you don't suffer too many adverse effects of being online.
So what are some ways to now you might be spending too much time online? These can include
Headaches, sore eyes and trouble sleeping
A sore back, neck or hand pain
If your activities online are hindering your relationships or well-being
Checking your devices too frequently
Spending too much time talking to others about what you've seen online
Thinking that what you're doing online is the most important thing in your life
Seeing a decline in your performance at work and university that isn't completed online.
What are some ways to improve your online habits and find a good balance? These can include
Turning off your notifications or even changing your settings to 'do not disturb.'
Set a timer which you can see where you don't touch your phone until the timer goes off. Having a visual timer can help you stay on track and not constantly check how much time is left.
Most phones or devices have apps that can allow you to set usage limits. If you go over the designated time, you're unable to use the device until it resets.
Set yourself regular breaks. Research says an individual should take small breaks away from a screen at least every hour where you can stretch, get a drink or go for a short walk.
If you're online for a specific reason, set yourself goals and objectives you can tick off as you complete them.
Set boundaries with your time about when you will no longer be online. Logging off at the same time every evening can be beneficial for your health and well-being.
If you think you need support or help to manage how much time you spend online, you can reach out to a range of resources. Beyond Blue can provide you with support and resources to help with a range of issues. Beyond Blue also have a specific webpage dedicated to supporting you with using your device too often. Find it here. If what you've read has caused some concerns or worries and you'd like some support, you can call Lifeline on 13 14 11 at any time. They are available 24/7. If you're in immediate risk or someone you know is, call 000 to speak to emergency services.
eSafety Education. (2020). Guide to Managing Time Online. https://www.esafety.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/Students%203%20-%20Guide%20to%20managing%20time%20online.pdf