Digital technologies and the internet have become enmeshed within the structures of our society. When humans interact with them, our physical, emotion, social and financial wellbeing is impacted upon in both positive and negative ways.

Our online behaviours and interactions affect how we think and feel, and this can affect our offline behaviours, interactions and relationships too.

‘Digital wellbeing’ describes the optimal balance between the benefits, risks and drawbacks associated with participations in our increasingly digital society. We experience digital wellbeing when the technology we use enhances our lives and supports our intentions without significant detriment to our safety. relationships, health or quality of life.

To optimise your digital wellbeing, here are some tips to get you started:

Monitor your screen time. Many devices these days have a built in timers that show you how much time you are spending on your devices and what apps you are using. If you find yourself wasting time online and not really doing anything useful (whilst other tasks mount up) maybe restrict your screen time to a certain time in the day or a certain amount of time spent on the device to make sure you prioritise what’s important.

Does this website/app/device spark joy? When using a website, say Instagram, does it leave you feeling positive? Are you inspired and receiving enjoyment and fulfilment when using it? Or does it make you feel negatively about your own life and circumstances? Ask yourself these questions about all the websites you frequently visit and answer honestly. If a particular website doesn’t bring you joy and enhance your life in some way (no matter how small) then maybe rethink engaging with it so often and see if your digital wellbeing improves.

Bedtime curfews and digital free meal times. Find times in the day where you are strict and put your devices down. a 9pm device curfew gives you time to settle down with out a screen which is known to improve sleep. Prioritise real life relationships and be more mindful when you sit down for dinner with friends or family by keeping your phone off the table.

Go Greyscale. Our brains love shiny, bright, colourful things. Big red notification spots, beautiful vivid pictures on Instagram or HD YouTube videos. All designed to keep us engaged in clicking, swiping and downloading. Tristan Harris, founder of the Centre for Humane Technology has found that removing the colour, and turning your phone screen to greyscale removes all the positive reinforcements. This means we lose a lot of desire to sit scrolling for hours on our phones and will only pick it up when necessary.