Reduce your use of tech at home

The question “are you going somewhere interesting this weekend to stare at a screen?” would be funny if it wasn’t so true.

A digital detox can be one of the healthiest things you do on a regular basis. Too many people are addicted to smartphones and tablets, often at the expense of communicating with friends and family. How often have you wanted to grab a phone off someone while they ignore you in the middle of a conversation?

There is now a growing body of research likening social media addiction and internet use to drug addiction. Digital detox centres have been established to help people overcome their digital addiction. This is highlighted in the movie Screenagers, currently doing the rounds of Australian high schools as part of an education process for parents on the problems their teenagers are having with smartphone addiction.

Here are a few tips to help you put down your devices and enjoy some of the simple things in life.

Get outdoors

This can mean going for a walk around your suburb, or even a hike in the bush. You can go to the beach, a park or just your backyard and sit quietly with a book.

Dine sans screens

Make it a rule in your home that nobody eats with a mobile phone in their hand or at the table. Create a space where all phones are charged or stored during meals. Encourage conversation while dining, or put the radio on for background music.

Print reading materials

Reading from a screen for long periods is worse for your eyes than reading a book or newspaper. Ditch the e-reader and buy a novel, or print an article before reading it.

Watch the big screen

Rather than hibernating away from the family with headphones and a movie on a small screen, watch a movie together on a large screen. Make it a movie night and cook some popcorn or other snacks. Dim the lights, put a rug across your lap and really get involved in the movie.

Make bedrooms screen free zones

Establish a charging area for your devices away from the bedrooms. Do not let children or teenagers use a smartphone in their bedroom, particularly after hours. They can end up texting til the early hours of the morning and be too tired to learn in class.

Have a games night

Get the board games out of the cupboard and have a fun night in. Make a specific night, like Friday, a games night. Everyone plays and you can add to the fun with special food treats for winners.

Here are some backyard games to entertain your kids over the holidays.