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How taking a #techfree15 can give you a healthy mind and phone

13th October 2017 | Cyber Aware
How taking a #techfree15 can give you a healthy mind and phone

TV Psychologist and wellbeing expert, Honey Langcaster-James shares her advice on why it’s so important to tech regular breaks from technology.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Chances are, you reach for your smartphone. Technology has become such a huge part of our lives now. We wake up and check our emails,  scroll through Facebook while we’re eating breakfast. Technology is great for so many things but it’s got to a point where the only time we aren’t glued to a smartphone is when we’re asleep, and with sleep tracking apps widely available now, sleep isn’t always a tech-free zone either. Just like our devices need a chance to install the latest software and app updates to help protect them from viruses and hackers, we need time to relax and refresh.

So what’s the problem? If everyone is on their phone these days maybe we should just accept it as part of modern day culture? Well studies have shown that too much ‘tech time’, especially exposure to bright screen light right before bedtime, can over-stimulate the brain and interfere with the quality of our sleep. This then naturally has an adverse effect on wellbeing. Spending too much time on your phone can also prevent you from engaging fully with the people around you and can interfere with the relationships you have with your loved ones. 

One way to improve your overall wellbeing is to break the habit of constantly checking your smartphone and take a tech free 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes also give you the opportunity to install the latest software and app updates on your smartphone or other devices. These updates are not just for adding functionality or making your app look pretty, they actually contain vital security updates. These help to fix weaknesses in your software and apps which cyber criminals can use to attack your device and steal your identity. Installing your updates as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure and means you’re less vulnerable to cyber crime. 

Cyber Aware have launched the #TechFree15 campaign to encourage people to take a tech free break while they are installing their software and app updates, and to use the time to do something positive for their wellbeing. 

There are plenty of simple and quick things you can do with your 15 minutes of tech-free time to improve your wellbeing. Take a walk somewhere green for example, research has shown that the more time you spend in green places the better your mood and overall health and wellbeing, and we all know that regular exercise is vital for your health. Spend some quality time with friends, family and loved ones and make it a tech-free zone at the dinner table so you’re actually making eye contact with one another and sharing the ups and downs of your day. That way you’ll be getting, and giving, the vital social support we all need.  

You can make it a part of your daily routine and install updates before you go to bed. That way, if it gets to the end of the day and you feel like you haven’t had a moment to breathe, you can relax and wind down by reading a book and letting your device do what it needs to do in the background.

So while you take a break from your tech, install the latest software and app updates, help keep your devices secure and improve your health and wellbeing all at the same time. It’s win win!