Time to take digital wellness seriously

Time to take digital wellness seriously

It seems no matter how many Black Mirror episodes we watch, or our heightened paranoia of how reliant we are on technology and its potential effect on us— we still love tech. We’ll buy that Google Home or Amazon’s Echo (even if they can be borderline creepy). We’ll also share life updates on Facebook and Instagram and leave our profiles on public. What can I say, I guess we like living on the edge.

With an app for almost everything it’s only timely that there is a rise in tech providers getting serious about digital well-being. Here’s a look at what’s out there and how you can take charge of your own digital wellness.

An Apple a day

At the beginning of June, Apple announced that it would be rolling out new features that focus on “digital wellness” to help mobile users curb that niggling phone addiction.

The latest iOS 12 software for iPhone and iPad will include features such as Apple Screen Time, which shows you data on the time spent on each application. Along with this you will be able to set time limits for each app, when this function is enabled a push notification will automatically send you a “time’s up” message. This “downtime” function also gives parent’s another way to monitor the time their kids spend on the device. Parent’s can also enable this function on their kid’s phone via their own device.

Another upcoming iOS feature is grouped notifications, so you can say goodbye to the stress of seeing an endless stream of notifications, from Messenger, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, emails, calls and texts.

Google Wellbeing

Google has a whole webpage dedicated to digital wellbeing. Google Wellbeing takes you through the different ways you can take control of your devices/apps and how you use them daily.

On your mobile devices, the android dashboard gives you access to see how much time you’ve spent on apps and other phone functions. For example, ever wondered how many times you mindlessly unlocked your phone in the last 15 minutes? Well, android dashboard will let you know.

If you fall down the YouTube rabbit hole, YouTube will send a reminder to take a break from the screen.

Also coming soon to android is the “Wind Down” function. The “Wind Down” function activates a night light, where the mobile screen goes from all colour to greyscale as a reminder to switch off. Another upcoming feature is the easy do not disturb function which can be activated by just flipping your phone face down.

Android’s Family Link allows parents to set the digital ground rules for their kids including managing apps, limiting the amount of screen time and scheduling internet breaks.


Bullying filters

While we are on the topic of digital wellbeing, Instagram has taken it a step further with bullying filters, this automatically blocks comments that vilify based on appearance and/or character.

However some of these measures there is still toxic social media that invade our online spaces. Along with the reporting feature on social platforms, there is also helpful advice for reporting cyberbullying on the Australian Governments eSafety website.

Facebook Youth Portal

This resource is primarily for teens but is also a beneficial read for all Facebook users. The easy to read resources, educates users on latest policy updates, data retention, online safety including bullying and privacy, without the legal jargon.

The portal also looks to empower youth, as well as sharing safe online environment principles including a blog where youth can hear from peers on positive use of social media. Explore Facebook’s Youth Portal.

Digital detoxes

Block, mute, temporary disable, sometimes you just need a total break. Cue in the digital detox. It’s weird to think that this not-so inanimate object can have more control over your life than yourself. But that is certainly how it can feel and it’s why the Insights team decided it was time to take on a week’s digital detox challenge. Check out how we went following  Manoush Zomorodi’s ‘Bored to Brilliant’ Infomagical challenge here.


Dumb phones

If you have had enough and I mean absolutely enough of apps, then here’s a gift for you. The smart dumb phone. It’s a balance between tech-head and off-the-grid. Say goodbye to apps, camera, and no internet. Punkt MP01 has created a phone that is only for calling and texting. Any takers?


Melissa Stewart


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