Reduce screen time with these simple steps

Reduce screen time with these simple steps

The phone is described as a digital psychedelic, and the whole thing is referred to as a giant digital experience.

Through his background as a brain researcher, Ole Petter Hjelle explains how tech giants ally with the reward systems in our brains to make us addicted.

DIGITAL DOP: Doctor and neuroscientist Ole Petter Hjelle describes the mobile phone as a digital device and offers many tips on how to reduce screen use. Photo: Morten Brown

Hill explains that Norwegians spend an average of four hours on the phone each day, and that half of us spend up to six hours.

For someone growing up today and turning 80, they will spend about eleven years of their life on screen, Hjelle tells God morgen Norge.

Now he has many tips on how to reduce addiction.

Giant digital experience

As a researcher, he believes that our brains are not adapted to using screens today.

It comes down to the fact that all apps and platforms, especially social media, are designed to make us addicted. We see this in the brain. When someone likes or comments on a photo you’ve posted, dopamine is released in our reward center. This contributes to positive feeling and reinforces behavior, which in turn contributes to increased screen use.

He describes the whole thing as a giant digital experience.

The smartphone is a relatively new phenomenon. When today we spend so many hours on something we haven’t spent any time in 15 years, we don’t really know enough about how it affects us, but some indications are clear. continue:

The screen itself is not harmful, but when you spend many hours doing something largely inactive, something else disappears.

The researcher pointed to several factors that influence what he refers to as three pillars of our health.

You sit alone a lot and in peace. Among other things, we see an association between spending time in front of screens and poor mental health. It has been proven that the more screen you are on, the less sleep you get. It also contributes to poor sleep quality and reduced social interaction.

How do you know you are addicted?

Hjelle himself admits that he finds it difficult to put the phone away, and it is precisely this that can determine if a person is addicted.

If you feel screen use is robbing your quality of life, you may be addicted.

Hjelle is not clear on what constitutes an addiction, but there are some points in particular that he claims are crucial as to whether one should take action on screen use.

If you are so worried about not being able to find your mobile, about to run out of power, or if you feel like you have to have it with you all the time, these are signs of addiction.

There is a separate word for this type of mobile addiction. The researcher uses the term “nhomophobia‘, or ‘no mobile phobia’, which deals with feeling the need to carry a mobile phone with you at all times.

Addicted?: Worried when your phone runs out of power?  Do you have to carry it with you all the time?  These may be indications of addiction.  Photo: Terry Bendixby

Addicted?: Worried when your phone runs out of power? Do you have to carry it with you all the time? These may be indications of addiction. Photo: Terry Bendixby

He claims that the phenomenon describes a large proportion of adults and children. When one does not know the consequences, it encourages more people to consider their screen use. Here too with a focus on children and young adults.

There are no national rules or legislation for screen use but I think so Restrictions are especially important for children and young people. If you’re concerned about children’s screen use, you should show interest and commitment rather than pointing fingers, he says and continues:

After all, screens are also important tools and young people depend on developing digital competence. So it would be impossible to enforce screen bans, but by showing interest you can get a better ear in the conversation about restrictions. This is also about internet intelligence. They grew up with this, and their digital life is much bigger than ours.

As the researcher says, the screen isn’t dangerous in itself, but if you recognize the term “developing phobia,” take action.

How to reduce screen time

A mobile phone has many important tools that are incredibly useful in daily life, so it’s about reducing usage rather than getting rid of the device.

The researcher’s first tip concerns reflection and awareness.

You have to think about how much time you actually spend on the phone. Then, you can check out the Screen Time app to get an overview of how much time you’re spending, and what you’re actually spending. Then you have to evaluate the results based on your desires.

After careful thought, he called for more concrete actions.

You can make agreements with yourself about mobile-free times of the day, or create mobile-free zones at home. It is important here that you put the phone completely away. If you put it in a closet or in the car, your mind will be too lazy to check it, but if it is in your pocket, it can happen automatically.

When you unlock the phone, you are greeted with notifications and colors. Hjelle explains that on average we check our mobile about 150 times a day. There are many clever solutions here to trick the brain.

One trick is to make the phone boring. One can change the colors of the icons and make everything gray. This will be less tempting to the brain and contribute to a reduced dopamine reward, which in the long run will lead to a reduced number of scans.

Simple actions: Restrictions, mobile-free zones, and turning off notifications are some of the actions Ole Petter Hjelle believes will reduce screen time.  Photo: Yui Mok

Simple actions: Restrictions, mobile-free zones, and turning off notifications are some of the actions Ole Petter Hjelle believes will reduce screen time. Photo: Yui Mok

It also recommends turning off notifications. It is also possible to select specific apps that you like and do not want to receive notifications from.

Another concrete tip is Hide Its most used applications.

Put the ones you use the most in a separate folder away. The brain is completely lazy and therefore won’t bother searching for several seconds.

Not only negative

Although too much screen use can lead to negative consequences, Hill concludes by looking at the positive development of technology.

Phones are great gadgets that we cannot do without, both in terms of learning and globalization.

One activity in particular was surprisingly positive.

Even games have shown better coordination in the hands.

Moreover, he points to the pandemic as a good example of how the screen can be used to bring together people who will or will feel lonely.

– So we should focus on limiting screen use in relation to sleep and activity level, says Ole Petter Hjelle for Good Morning Norway.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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