What Does Digital Wellness Mean to SignOff?

At our event on April 6, you all asked us a lot of questions on the subject of digital wellness. Here are your questions answered.

Originally published on June 5, 2019

A note from the Founders:

When we hosted an event on April 6th, 2019, Trifecta danced, Suri sang, and you all asked us your personal questions about digital wellness. In order to provide you the clearest answers and information, we enlisted a wonderful wellness writer named Jenessa Stark. We’re so glad she was able to help us and hope to work more with her in the future. If you have more questions about our answers PLEASE reach out from our contact page or email us directly.

Now, your questions answered…

Q: How do you suggest we SignOff and remain accessible for high priority work issues (in customer service)?

A: When it comes to balancing your business with SignOff time, the first thing to ask yourself is what defines a high priority issue. For example, you probably don’t want to sacrifice your personal time to answer a question that’s already on your FAQs page.

This can be a difficult choice to make in the moment when customers are waiting, so it helps to write down and even create a procedure for priority levels. If you’re a solo operation, pre-determining the priority of scenarios helps drop the guilt of not responding right away. If you work with a team, open communication about what a system that respects everyone’s SignOff time can look like.

It’s also helpful to remind yourself that any business has working hours. Specify clear hours for your customer service duties. Even with expectations to be present online, this doesn’t mean that you have to be responsive 24/7. This might mean listing your business hours on your website or hiring a virtual assistant.

Ultimately, what defines “high priority” is a personal interpretation that everyone should define. Whatever this means for you, create a system to honor this in your business to prevent burnout and encourage a healthy relationship with technology.

Q: How can artists bridge the gap of isolation digital media tends to create?

A: As a tool, digital media has the potential to be used for or against our benefit. It is true that digital media can isolate us by keeping us behind the screen, but we also have the unique opportunity to connect through digital media.

Artists now have digital platforms that are revolutionizing what it means to be an artist. Connecting with fellow creators virtually or arranging for in-person meetups is now easier than ever. Art is presented to the world, making it accessible to people who appreciate it and making careers possible where they never were before. Selling art online, growing online communities and curating heartfelt content that speaks to niche markets are a few ways the digital renaissance is being explored by all kinds of artists.

Q: How can you trust a website?

A: If you’re using the internet to shop or exchange information—that’s everyone, by the way—you should know what to look for to be sure the site you visit is secure. Fake websites do exist, so look out for these three signs of validity. Always use your best judgment based on these indicators plus anything that sounds “too good to be true.”

CONTENT: The first thing you’ll see when you visit a website is its content, meaning the words on the web pages. This is also the first place to start looking for authenticity in the form of good grammar and spelling, as well as being sure that the content matches the purpose of the website. Ask yourself whether this website appears to be an authority in their industry. Clear and quality content is a sign someone invested in it.

SECURE: Check to be sure that there’s an “s” in “https” in the URL. This is a sign of security certification. This may not be present on every page, but it should be on the payment page. Your browser where you type the URL will also show a security padlock symbol which you can click on for details about the site.

CONTACT: Scammy websites are out to take your money and never look back, so chances are they don’t want to get in touch. Look for contact information and if in doubt, get in contact with them.

Q: What are some ideas for using phones together and as a medium to connect in person with others?

A: Remember when you would go to a relative’s house for a holiday meal and they would pull out a photo album? Bulky albums are becoming a thing of the past now that the discrete device we carry in our pockets can store more images than we ever could in real life. Connecting with others by sharing memories is a wonderful and healthy way to cultivate deeper relationships.

Phones are also a great way to play games. They can be pulled out at a moment’s notice when with family and friends. And there are no pieces to get lost in the couch! You can find classic favorites like Charades and Yahtzee, plus creative new games in your app store.

Q: How can I practice digital wellness while still remaining available when people need me?

A: All relationships need good communication. Making it clear to others how and when it’s appropriate to get in touch with you can prevent misunderstandings. Express to those in your life what time you SignOff in the evening and when you’ll be back in the morning. Encourage them to set these healthy boundaries as well.

Q: What is the average screen time throughout the age group of 18 – 34?

A: Adults spend around 11 hours per day interacting with media, according to the market-research group Nielsen. Around 9 of those hours are spent interacting with screens.

Statistics for adult screen time largely reflect using screens at work, but the age range of 18-34 sees more smartphone usage that other adult age ranges. This is likely due to higher rates of social media usage, which has been linked to feelings of depression and loneliness, according to a University of Pennsylvania study.

As Psychology Today points out, drawing conclusions from screen time statistics is difficult with many variables at play. This includes the characteristics of the individual and the content, the type of media, the frequency, and at what point in the day they’re using the screen to occupy them.

Q: How can I SignOff at home and not sit on my phone all night?

A: Looking at a screen before bed is a nightmare for your melatonin production and sleep patterns. It’s best to create a screen-free bedtime routine, and avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime. Get an alarm clock for your bedroom and keep your phone in another room. Lying in bed with racing thoughts might cause you to scramble up and get your screen, so read a book or journal to replace the habit.

Q: What is “Phubbing”?

A: In social situations, it’s become commonplace to get sucked into scrolling on your phone. This is known as “phubbing”, a term coined by Macquerie Dictionary. Phubbing is an example of how technology can be harmful to our interpersonal relationships, which influences our mental health.

Q: How do Google Digital Wellbeing and Apple Screen Time work?

A: Apple Screen Time, release on iOS 12, offers new insights into data usage and allows individuals and families to set time restrictions on app usage. Now with an updated Downtime feature, you can restrict usage on certain apps on certain days. This can be handy if you want to specifically limit social media time, or encourage less screen time for specific days and times.

Digital Wellbeing is the name of Google’s Screen Time equal, but they seem to be a bit more diligent by adding another layer to bypassing set time limitations on apps. While Apple offers a popup which can easily be closed, Digital Wellbeing requires accessing and changing your settings to bypass limitations.

Features that offer insights to screen time can be eye-opening and motivate change for individuals and families. These features can be useful for creating a healthier relationship with screens, especially as features increase to allow for customization to fit different lifestyles.

Q: Is digital wellness still a hot topic? Is it just a buzzword?

A: As phones and electronics integrate deeply into our lives, it’s important that we don’t lose awareness of their presence. Digital wellness is so much more than just a buzzword, but it’s up to everyone who sees its importance to keep it at the front of people’s minds. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors about the topic, and you might be surprised how much others are thinking about this issue.

Q: Do you think phone and social media usage is affecting mental health diagnoses and treatments?

A: An unhealthy relationship with technology is often a sign of other mental health problems such as depression, ADHD or substance abuse. This is true for both children and adults. For mental health professionals, internet and phone addiction are an indicator to explore other diagnoses.

Technology addiction has many categories such as internet addiction, pornography addiction and social media addiction. It’s generally agreed that it is an Addiction Disorder if it disrupts the user’s ability to maintain a job, relationships and fulfill obligations.

Though they can be addictive, phones offer a useful tool for mental health. They make it possible for mental healthcare providers to stay in touch with patients, and virtual visits make therapy more accessible. Apps also make mental health expertise and concepts available to those who aren’t working with a provider. With these tools being accessible at everyone’s fingertips, awareness can increase and help end the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

Q: How can I stop reaching for my phone and stop my phone addiction?

A: Reaching for your phone is a habit, and habits are best overcome when they can be replaced by another one. Find something else that occupies your hands while you practice periods of SignOff time. This might mean always keeping a book, a cup of tea or a deck of cards to shuffle nearby.

Spending time in nature can also be helpful for untethering from your devices. Sometimes referred to as “forest bathing,” getting outdoors away from the city is shown to reduce stress while encouraging you to be present and aware of your surroundings instead of your phone.

Q: How can I maintain a healthy social life while also preaching digital wellness practices?

A: Phones are made for socializing! Be a role model for digital wellness by using your phone to make plans and stay in touch with others. SignOff from unnecessary features and activities that don’t add value and anything that feels excessive. When you cut the distractions, it allows you to give your full attention to those you’re communicating with, in person and virtually.

By dialing in on your personal operating procedure for digital wellness, you can use your phone and devices to establish a meaningful connection.

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