My New Year's Resolution: Binge Less On The Digital Junk Food Of Social Media And Smartphones

In just a few short weeks 2018 will be history and a new year will be upon us. Many of us create New Year’s resolutions that we’re all good at keeping until about February at the most.

For the past few weeks, the amount of time I use technology from my iPhone to checking in daily on social media has been on my mind. If we all were to be honest with ourselves, we all spend too much time on our phones on a daily basis.

None of us need to check Facebook or scroll Instagram multiple times per day or in some cases, per hour. Our feeds on the average day don’t change that much between the time we log on and then log on again later that day, hour or minute.

We all could use less time on social media.

In 2019, I have decided to make a real effort to reduce my screen time for multiple reasons, and I am inviting and encouraging you to join me.

One of the main reasons I plan to reduce my online time is because social media is a time waster. Have you ever thought about how much more productive you’d be at work if you put the phone away and concentrated on your to-do list at work? Odds are you could probably go home earlier a lot of days if you would just focus and not check Facebook at the top and bottom of every hour.

Another reason I plan to put the phone away is that I want better health. A quick Google search will show there is increasing evidence from study after study that screen time is bad for your health both mentally and physically.

A recent study reported social media could increase anxiety in users. In addition, the screen is bad on your eyes and your neck as you bend it down all day long looking at the screen, a condition commonly known as “Tech Neck.”

Of course, technology is not all bad and a negative in our lives. There is no doubt smartphones have improved our lives, saved us a lot of time on daily tasks, have created thousands of new jobs for Americans and is a plus for our economy. 

However, it’s like junk food. You know it’s bad for you, but you consume it anyways because once in a while is ok, as long as it doesn’t become a daily habit. For all of us, if we're honest, social media and our smartphones are the digital junk food we all need to use in moderation.

So in 2019, before you decide to “binge” on Netflix, maybe consider more healthy entertainment options like reading a book or taking a walk. It’ll do you a lot of good.

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Dr. Whittle is taking off for Christmas and the New Year’s holiday. Next new column will be available January 7, 2019.

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Posted on December 16, 2018 .