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Julien Maury
Julien Maury

Posted on

How do you deal with screen time?

TIL (Today I learned) that Americans spend on average around 4 hours a day with their smartphones (e.g. Instagram, but not only). In Europe, it's quite the same.

There are various screens, including mobile phones, laptops, and televisions. Overall, the screen time is about 9-10 hours per day.

With the covid crisis, screen time has been skyrocketing.

It's a huge concern, and not only for technical people but how do you deal with it, as developers?

Do you take specific measures to reduce screen time?

Discussion (12)

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Cold Turkey is without doubt the best way to get PC screen time under control as it lets you block applications or even lock you out of your computer entirely at specified times! That one stops me working until 3am (locking my computer)!

For the phone, just switch off notifications and leave the phone out of reach, that fixes 99% of your phone problems. Oh and I have a rule of not using my phone in bed, that is something everyone should try and stop doing, that used to be my worst habit!

For TV, as far as I am aware that is just will power / finding something more interesting to do! One extreme idea I read about is to have one of those plugs that your program on and off times (for when you are on holiday to make it look like someone is in the house) and set it to switch the TV off at a certain time (by plugging the TV into it of course!) - never tried that one but if you have a big problem of binge watching it might work for you!

Those are my top tips!

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author • Edited on

Those are my top tips!

Your tips are indeed top 🤩

Thanks for sharing. I agree with you, no phone in bed. As far as I know, screen time can reduce sleeping time severely, leading to various disorders and health issues in the worst cases.

I know engineers who aren't kidding with screen time, especially if it's for their children.

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Yeah the "blue light" is the main problem as it tricks the brain into thinking it is still daytime. Same for any screen.

Couple that with the fact that phone time in bed tends to be mindless scrolling of social media and the constant mini dopamine hits that brings and that also hurts sleep!

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author

Interesting, maybe working and binge watching videos (or scrolling on Twitter) do not have the same effects.

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Certainly not the same effects.

I think we subconsciously know they are not the same from how we approach them / how you behave with each activity.

You will just pick your phone up and start scrolling without any prior thought, but for work you often have to “mentally prepare” / get in the zone.

This is because SM doom scrolling is feeding your brain everything it thinks it needs, work requires effort and isn’t as exciting to the brain (in terms of dopamine hits and constant stimulation / gratification).

The ironic thing is that too much Social Media (especially things like TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram etc.) makes it harder to work as you become addicted to the gratification cycle short videos bring.

So the second a challenge appears and you have used up your will power “I will just check Twitter” pops into your head!

They are designed (very carefully and precisely designed I might add) to be addictive and they are. The sad thing is that we are at the stage where if you want to be successful you need to feed that addiction as otherwise your platform will not get used as much.

Anyway this is turning into a mini rant, in summary force yourself to spend more time working without distraction and less time on social media.

Buy a kindle, go for a walk or a run, anything that means you aren’t spending more than 20 minutes at a time on Social Media.

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author

I agree with you. I stay away from those platforms partly for that.

They are designed (very carefully and precisely designed I might add) to be addictive and they are

Yeah, they use all kinds of cognitive biases and patterns to make people scroll. The infinite scroll technique is a striking example.

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aetherunbound profile image
Madison Swain-Bowden • Edited on

When some of the social unrest started up last year in the US, I joined so many groups that my phone was blowing up constantly. But I also wanted to make sure that I could still get phone calls if I needed to. It was a difficult balance to strike!

I ended up setting up a specific "Do Not Disturb" mode on my phone that silences all notifications and prevents any on-screen pop-ups from happening while using the phone, but still allows phone calls to hit the ringer. This has been so helpful; I don't get distracted nearly as much and I use my phone a lot less!

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author

Interesting point. Notifications are a big concern. It's ironic cause we join all those groups, looking for interaction and great discussion, but we sometimes get too many of them.

I don't know all the details, but too many stimuli are not healthy for the brain (e.g., dopamine effect) for sure.

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emil profile image
Emil

Get friends, Family and hobbies. Delete social media apps. Call people on the phone rather writing them

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author

sounds nice. I personally try to optimize my screen time. I think it's best if your hobbies are "offline" too.

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emil profile image
Emil • Edited on

yeah if your hobby is in front of a screen (I guess its something else rather then mindless browsing instagram...) then I don't see a big problem. In other (non-screen) hobbies people won't use any time tracking at all since spending time on a hobby while only concentration is focussed on that is the biggest gift we can have in those times

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jmau111 profile image
Julien Maury Author

spending time on a hobby while only concentration is focussed on that is the biggest gift we can have in those times

well said.