Good Screens

Strategies for keeping it real, online.

Great news, technophiles. According to several 2014 studies published by the Pew Research Center, most Americans believe the Internet has improved our lives: It has increased our ability to learn new things and kept us better informed about national news, pop culture, and new products and services. Turns out screen time is a good thing.

We just have to be careful not to go overboard, writes Dr. Larry Rosen in his book iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us (2012). The oft-quoted expert on the psychology of technology urges self-awareness and balance when it comes to tech consumption. If not, we can develop narcissism, obsessive-compulsive behavior (how many times have you checked your phone since you started reading this?) or even depression. To keep technology disorder at bay and maintain online health, start by putting your smart phone away an hour before bedtime, or at least dim the screen and keep it 14 inches or more from your face to prevent LEDs from impacting the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

Take frequent tech breaks—walk across the room or, better yet, go outside. Make the dinner table a technology-free zone, and moderate the number of status updates or posts that you make each day. After all, with great power comes great responsibility. DigitalResponsibility.org

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