Finding the right balance with technology for digital well-being

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives as we use them for social and professional reasons. However, it is important to find the right balance between screen time and time away from technological tools such as phones, laptops/desktops. In this article, I share my experiences of using the digital well-being app on my phone for my wellbeing as a City student. Having the digital well-being app on my mobile phone has helped me to improve and think more carefully about how I interact with technology, how to prioritise on important tasks and create time away from it as part of looking after my wellbeing. It has helped me manage my time better so that I focus on my studies and have more face-to-face contact with my friends and family. I will share with you four tips on how the app has helped me improve my digital well-being so that I am in full control of what I do while also being able to fulfill my student obligations.  

Knowing the right time to use my phone 

Since I started used the digital well-being app, I have become intentional on how I use my phone. By this, I mean that I use my phone when I am taking a break, after completing my work or if I must take an emergency call. Previously, I would check my phone for messages and social media updates in between work, and this was very disruptive as I ended up spending more time responding to messages on issues that were not urgent. I now keep my phone on silent throughout the day so that I do not feel obligated to check my phone when notifications come through.   

Cutting down on social media time 

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp among others require a lot of time to go through and respond to messages especially if one is part of groups/communities on WhatsApp. In the first few weeks of using the digital well-being app, WhatsApp always came up as one of my most visited platforms which showed that I was spending more time on WhatsApp if compared to time spent checking emails or other platforms. Since then, I now limit time I visit WhatsApp. I rarely check my contacts’ profiles or status’ updates. I participate in group conversations when I have completed important work and sometimes I do not comment in groups when a topic that I am not passionate about is shared. This helps me to avoid arguments and debates which may take a long time and affect my well-being. In addition, the app comes with a timer which helps me to manage usage of specific applications. 

 Creating time for myself 

Another benefit of the app is that it allows me to create time for myself or for work by blocking apps for a particular time. Focus mode provides the opportunity to block selected apps for a specific time except for the ones that I choose to follow. After exiting focus mode, I still can still check out the notifications I missed and stay updated on communication or notifications that came through earlier. Using the focus mode button has helped me to better focus on important work and get more work done in a short time.  

Setting screen time goals 

The set screen time goal button allows me to set goals for how much time I would like to use the phone which gives me better control of my time. I hope you will be able to reflect on how you are using technology and if you do not already have the app, feel encouraged to install one. To learn more about the importance of well-being, check out this LinkedIn video Your well-being is your priority. To sign into LinkedIn Learning, you can use your City credentials as the system uses single sign on. Be on the lookout for my next blog post as I continue to share information on digital skills, tools, or software you can use for your academic and employability skills and to promote your well-being.  The student digital community is a space available for all City students to interact and share information on digital skills and the support available at City.


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