The 21st century is full of problems, there are common ailments that were not so common 20 years ago and the changes that society make every few years is too fast for many people. The world I see now is totally different to a few years ago, and tech is the reason for this. Tech isn’t a bad thing, but I wonder about what children can get up to on the internet now, it is much more difficult to keep an eye on what kids as young as 8 can search for online.
Children are so used to technology now that a friend’s 13-month-old daughter was looking at a framed picture and was “swiping” the picture with their finger. She clearly thought it was a tablet! What does this say about future generations growing up? The 21st century is throwing up a lot of common addictions that weren’t so common a few years ago.
The big thing about addiction to smartphones or tablets is that we are constantly exposed to these things, wherever we go. It’s not like we can get away from computers for a minute unless we go into the forest! This makes it so much harder to manage your children’s time in front of these things, and this doesn’t just go for children; adults are much in the throes of smartphone addiction as anyone else.
If you take a train journey, you will see about 75% of people staring down at their phones, passing the time. And does this mean that we are just becoming a bit more antisocial and opting to communicate through our phones instead of engaging with people? The health risks of using phones are being researched, but here is what we know so far.
The blue light from our phone is not good for us. In fact, if we use our phones up to two hours before bedtime it interrupts our bodies’ ability to make melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes healthy sleep.
We are all guilty of catching up on Facebook just before bedtime, and do you find yourself feeling really lethargic the next day even though you’ve had a good amount of sleep? That’s because your sleep quality has been seriously affected by the blue light from your phone.
This doesn’t just mean you should ban your phones from the bedroom, TV should also be banned. The best thing for you to get the best sleep is to ban ALL technology from your bedroom and invest in some blackout curtains. Any light can be a switch in your brain. So for you to truly switch off, leave the phones outside the bedroom, and if you need to use your phone or tablet in the run-up to bedtime, put a screen filter on it. F.Lux is free and can be downloaded from any computer, and there are many screen filter apps too.
A broad term for many things. Following on from smartphones and tablets which cause a lack of good sleep, we then reach for things to give us a fix, and these tend to be the usual things – chocolate, cigarettes, caffeine, sugary drinks. And it’s not surprising that we reach for these things to give us our quick fix, we are constantly feeling under the weather and need something to feed our overworked minds.
With any “substance” issue, not counting drugs and alcohol because they are ones that require the help of professionals, the way to overcome a lot of them is to make small and subtle changes so that they become better lifestyle choices over time. We all think that completely changing our diet will be the solution. In fact, it rarely helps because the change is so drastic that your body is craving all these bad things that you loved so much and your body is unable to cope with this change that, unless you have the willpower of a Navy SEAL, you end up reaching for the coke cans. This is why most New Year’s resolutions don’t last very long.
The solution for these types of addictions is to make one replacement at a time so that they are barely noticeable. Lifestyle, not diet or drastic change is the buzzword. A lifestyle change has more permanent repercussions.
Take cigarettes, for example, it is the hit of nicotine that your body is craving, so by finding a suitable replacement that gives the hit you need while also giving your body time to get rid of the tar in your lungs, this is the way to get you on the road to beating it. E-cigarettes are a very common substitute for cigarettes now because of their nicotine content and are arguably a healthier alternative to cigarettes.
The financial impact is also felt because you can just buy e-liquids, which you can browse at Vaporescence online, which take longer to use up than a standard cigarette would. The fact that you are still getting the hit, and you can choose e-liquids in different flavors, from fruity ones to even menthol, means that you don’t have to delve too far away from the feelings you had when you smoked, so it can become a more gradual change to giving up completely, rather than making a big change in your smoking habits.
Another example is something like fizzy drinks. If you have a child that cannot live without their orange soda, a handy swap is to use a bit of orange dilute and add fizzy water/club soda. It tastes like orange soda and the fizz can be recognizable as similar to orange soda but without as much sugar.
Addictions come in many forms now, from computers to social media, to diet, and they all need to be tackled with the same amount of urgency as you would tackle major substance issues, like drugs or alcohol. Looking around you now, you can see the amount of obesity and child sleep issues are increasing now, so by tackling it in the right manner, we can get rid of these addictions once and for all.
What bad habit do you want to break?