Take The Challenge: Offline October
Offline October is a challenge for people to give up social media for the month of October to support teen suicide prevention. Recently, the Littleton community has experienced a number of teen suicides and they are trying to address what they believe is one of the contributors – social media. The challenge is meant for people to realize the importance of human relationships and the happiness that can come from direct human interaction.
Consider these statistics about teens and technology:
- Teens check their phones 157 times per day
- Teens spend 4 hours on their phones per day
- Teens send 208 Snapchats per day
Cornell University has created a social media laboratory that researches the impact of social media on, among other things, our well-being.
Parents can be an effective role model for children when it comes to social media. Do you spend your evening poring over Facebook? Do you spend your meal time looking at your phone instead of connecting with family members? Offline October is the perfect time to make small changes that may improve your well-being. Here are some tips for making Offline October a family affair.
Turn off notifications. Notifications call our attention to our device and distract us from other things happening in our life. This creates a feeling that we might be missing out on something. Quell your FOMO by turning off notifications for the month of October.
Uninstall a pesky app. Is it impossible for you to avoid opening Facebook or other frequently used app? Uninstall one app that seems to have you ensnared in an addictive relationship to feel less anxious and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more rewarding visiting the site will be when you do log on. Using your computer, by definition, means you will likely use the site less.
Limit your time. Set an alarm on your phone, watch, or computer to limit your time on social media. Choose a limit depending on the severity of your addiction – say an hour a day, which equates to seven hours per week. When you reach your limit don’t be tempted to add on extra time.
Taking part in this exercise is an opportunity to deepen relationships with friends and family members and meet new people IRL. Does reducing your social media access make you feel bored? Research says that when we are a little bored we have our most creative thoughts. When we are bored we tend to daydream and daydreaming is necessary for enhanced creativity. Instead of feeding your mind’s quest for stimulation with social media, starve it just a little to solve a problem that requires creative thinking.