Before the COVID crisis, I was invited to speak at a seminar and workshop on digital wellness and techniques for Digital Wellbeing.
It was at a time when no individual would have even remotely forecasted the COVID crisis that was to unfold on humanity.
I cannot help but look back and feel ridiculous about my own speech that day. As was expected by the organisers and the audience too, I talked about how we are dependent on Gadgets and the internet, and how indispensable has the Smartphone become, with digital converging of Work related applications, to entertainment, to staying in touch and socialising too.
How all this was eating into the precious time with family and friends, and the feeling of lack of privacy – at times each person will want their own space and time to think, ideate, be more creative, plan for the future etc. Ironically, the first thing I did post the event was to reach out to my smart to check my emails and messages!
Well….try doing that and the anxiety levels inside you starts to build up. In case you forget to charge your phone and when you are on the road, if it gets switched off, even the family and friends would be anxious if they believe that you will always be reachable over your smartphone: call, or text message, What’s App or email.
Unless of course we have always been disciplined, about at what times we will be available, and at what times we will switch off. It was a distinct possibility that one could do it during the pre-Covid era. For some it was more of addiction and many hours of unnecessary usage of smartphones and being online. One couldn’t even sleep without the Smartphone next to you.
All this was attributable to poor habits and an ill disciplined lifestyle. Truly, that was it was. And most of us were knowingly doing it.
Most children would have smartphone that they would bring with them to the school and the classrooms. And it potentially was a big distractor, unless they were asked to strictly keep their devices when they were in school.
Children tend to become habituated or hooked to their smartphones, if their parents are also doing that. Digital wellbeing is also about digital behaviour and discipline. The parents and other elders at home should set an example of being disciplined about using digital devices.
It is tougher to implement this discipline during the peak times of COVID and particularly when we have been in lockdowns. Parents are working from Home, children are learning online. Hence it is that much more digital and screen time.
However, I believe this is possibly the best time to analyse and dissect our digital and online habits. Separate the “Must have” and “Nice to Have”, gradually move into a more disciplined usage.
Privacy issue in using smart devices. While each one of us would like absolute privacy of our usage of the smartphone. The dilemma is should you know about your children’s internet and digital behaviour. If so, until what age, and How?
School leadership and engaging with parents to discuss digital safety issues should happen regularly. To bring more awareness and caution to newer threats that keeps cropping up.
Like everything else we do in our lives for which we plan, we should also have a plan for our Digital well-being.