Currently, there are more Internet users in the world than those using toothpaste and a toothbrush. This fun fact should make us realize that, apart from personal hygiene, we should also take care of digital hygiene. Our mental, physical, and social well-being will depend on the level of such hygiene. But what is it and how can we be take care of it?
What is digital hygiene and why should we start talking about it?
Generally speaking, digital hygiene is a set of attitudes, actions, and activities aimed at optimizing an individual somatic, mental, and social health with regard to the use of information and communications technologies. Its level depends on self-regulation and control related to the use of the Internet and digital screen tools, an alternative to the digital world, as well as a developed social support network.
In easier terms?
We maintain an appropriate level of digital hygiene when the use of new technologies has a positive impact on our lives. If this is not the case, we should carefully consider whether we manage network resources and information and communications technologies properly.
How can we look after our digital hygiene?
There are really a lot of symptoms of lack of digital hygiene, whereas each of them may concern another aspect of how we use the Internet. However, it is important that the way we use digital technologies must have a positive impact on our mental, physical, and social well-being. Below you will find 10 principles allowing you to achieve this goal.
1. Control how much time you spend in front of the screen
But it is not only about screen time here, it is also about the quality of this time. Scientific research carried out around the world clearly shows that the type of screen time that is the most detrimental to our health is the so-called passive time. This is the time when we scroll down our screen, messages, and information on our social media emotionlessly. At such moments – when we are ordinary recipients of online content – time is “slipping through our fingers” the most.
2. Put away your smartphone
Carrying a phone with you all the time makes us use it all the time. When working or studying, keep the phone out of sight, you will probably be less interested in what is happening in it. An old principle out of sight, out of mind really works here.
Choose a place at work or at home where you put away your mobile phone, do not take it with you to social meetings, do not use it at during business meetings when you do not need it. If you want to train your brain more properly, it will be better for you to note the most important content of important meetings in a traditional way.
3. Turn off notifications
Failure to manage notifications means that we do not focus on the activities performed at home and while performing professional duties.
4. Do not multitask
When performing professional duties, close unnecessary applications and programs operating in the background and focus on performing one activity only. Otherwise, your concentration will fall to the minimum level, whereas you will be performing your tasks longer and less carefully.
Why? Because human brain needs a certain dose of time when moving from action to action to what it is reorientation. If you do your work while working in many applications at the same time, your brain begins to jump between tasks like a hopper. Remember that only 1% of people all over the world have a gift of multitasking.
5. Train your brain in an analog way
Card games, sudoku, word search, crosswords, Rubik’s cube, juggling with balls, manual works, eating soup with the left hand (if you are a right-handed person) – all these activities and probably many others increase the plasticity of our brain. These are important activities in a world dominated by glass screens. Train your brain in in an analog way – you can get inspirations from the fantastic book by K. Nordengen Mózg ćwiczy (Hjernetrening) published by Marginesy publishing house.
6. Relax and rest without screen devices
Only then can we really rest. In order to do this, it may be necessary to change the settings of your phone to more hygienic ones. Here you will find a few ways to make your smartphone absorb with you and your attention less.
7. Look for interests offline
The problem of abusing new technologies begins when the digital world is the only world available to you. Pursuing passions, hobbies, and interests will constitute a significant counterbalance for our online presence.
8. Plan time without the Internet
In therapy, the digital detox method has already become a permanent part of it. And it is used more and more frequently, also in an unorganized manner – individually. Try to consciously postpone all new technologies and use them you and your beloved ones decide to. This may be an hour, a few hours, a whole day, a weekend.
Disconnecting from the Internet and digital screen tools consciously, you will see what actually causes your attachment to new technologies . What is even more important is that you will see how important new technologies are in your life and whether you have any mechanisms to cope without them.
9. Take care of your sleep
It is one of the key principles of digital hygiene which we very often forget. It is not true that our brain decreases its activity when we sleep. Even at night, when we sleep, it is very active, although it does completely different things than during the day. It stimulates correct connections between neurons, removes unnecessary connections, systematizes the content we have acquired, but above all it creates the possibility for our body to launch long-term memory.
Only when we sleep undisturbed can we remember something for life. However, as it turns out young people in particular do not take care of their sleep: 27% of teenagers always go to bed with a telephone in their hand, whereas 10% of them always use their smartphone when they wake up at night. You can read more about young people’s behavior in the digital world here.
10. Take care of relationships
They are the basis for our functioning. They have a fundamental impact on our mental or physical well-being. Good relations with your loved ones are the best factor protecting us, our children, and our loved ones against entering into any problem. Here you can read about the importance of relations in the digital world.
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