If it feels like technology is taking over your life, it might be time to do something about it. Use these simple tips to cut back on screen time in your family.

By Hannah Bruneman

Look around. If you’re in a public place, you'll likely find multiple people staring at a screen of some sort. We are constantly drawn to our handheld devices, whether we’re walking on the sidewalk, in the middle of a conversation with a friend, or even while our tired eyes are fighting to fall asleep.

Most people would agree that screens and technology have gotten out of hand. The Nielsen Company conducted a study and found that the average adult spends 11 hours per day watching, listening, or playing with media. Luckily, there are solutions to reduce your screen time. Brands are encouraging people to get off their phones and explore the world. For example, Vitamin Water is offering $100k to one lucky person who can go an entire year without using a smartphone. Thousands of people are applying for the contest by using the #nophoneforayear hashtag and sharing what they’d do without the distraction of technology.

While you might not be ready to commit to a year without a phone, there are some measures you can take to limit your own screen time. Follow a few of our tips below to give your scrolling thumb a break.

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1. Screen Time App

Even tech companies are embracing society’s desire for less screen time. So much so that Apple products with iOS 12 come with a new feature that helps monitor tech usage. Screen Time can be found in your phone or tablet settings. Tap to turn it on and you can see a detailed daily report on how you use your iPhone or iPad.

Aside from learning more about your tech habits, Screen Time allows you to set your own limits regarding how much time you spend on apps, social networking, and games. Once you reach your limit, iOS will block access to that software. You can also view your children’s reports and set limits for them so they can focus on homework or physical play time.

2. Turn off Netflix Auto-Play

We’ve all had that intention to watch just one episode of our favorite show on Netflix. But, right as the credits start to roll, it jumps to the next episode before we even have a chance to turn off the TV. From there, it’s an endless cycle, and you find yourself binge watching for the rest of the night.

Luckily, Netflix comes with a solution to that problem. Through your settings, you can turn off the auto-play feature. To do it, log into your account, click Playback Settings, and uncheck “Play next episode automatically.” You’ll have more self-control to turn the TV off when you’re given the choice to do so.

3. Move TVs Out of the Bedroom

The easiest way to limit your screen time is to get rid of the screens altogether. However, in today’s climate, that is easier said than done. Instead of purging all of your TVs, phones, and computers, just remove a few. For example, get rid of the TV in your bedroom. It will force you to read a book before bed or listen to a podcast while you get ready in the morning. Plus, if the only TV in the house is in the living room, the family will be forced to be together to catch up on the latest episode.

4. Charge in the Kitchen

Keeping technology out of sight will also keep it out of mind. Most people keep their phone on their bedside table to charge while they sleep. This could disrupt sleeping patterns if you get a middle-of-the-night text or give in to temptation while you’re trying to fall asleep.

Instead, move your phone charger to the kitchen—you won’t be tempted to get out of bed to check your notifications. If you’re one of the many people who rely on their phone to wake them up in the morning, go the old fashioned route and get an alarm clock.


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