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Unplugged: Digital Overuse in Teenagers

In today’s ever changing world, it’s no news that we’ve grown up with smartphones, social media, and endless digital distractions. While technology can be useful, there’s something important we need to talk about: digital overuse. Yep, it’s a real thing, and it’s time we understand what it is, why it matters, and how we can strike a balance between our screens and our lives.

What is digital overuse?

Let’s break it down. Social media is a big part of our lives. They keep us connected with friends and the world. But have you ever felt like you’re spending way too much time on these apps? The pressure to have the perfect online life, the fear of missing out, and those endless notifications can be overwhelming. Digital overuse is when we spend so much time on our devices that it starts to affect our lives in a not-so-great way. Think about it – spending hours scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, gaming all night, or staying glued to your screen during online classes. If you find it hard to pull away from your device, especially when it’s causing problems in your daily life, that’s a sign of digital overuse.

Trends We Can’t Ignore

And let’s talk about schoolwork. With online learning becoming more common, it’s easy to spend hours in front of a screen for classes and then jump into more screen time for fun. This double dose of screen time can take a toll on our well-being.

Even celebrities struggle with digital overuse. Take Elon Musk, for example. He’s a renowned entrepreneur, but his obsession with Twitter has landed him in hot water more than once. It shows that anyone, no matter how successful, can get caught up in the digital world.

Sadly, there are stories closer to home, too. Remember Amanda Todd, a teenager like you? She faced cyberbullying that started online and led to unimaginable pain. Her story is a heartbreaking reminder of the real-world consequences of digital overuse and online cruelty

The Impact on Our Lives

So, what’s the big deal? Why should we care about digital overuse? Well, it’s not just about screens. Spending too much time online can lead to issues, like digital eye strain, irregular sleep patterns, and a less active lifestyle. In the long run, these would also compromise our wellbeing.

How Can We Find Balance?

We’re not saying you have to toss your devices out the window. Technology is a part of our world, and it’s here to stay. What we need is a healthy balance. Start by setting limits on your screen time. It might be tough at first, but it’s important to find time for other things you enjoy, like hobbies, sports, or hanging out with friends (yes, in person!). Remember, it’s okay to take a break. Put your phone down, go for a walk, or read a book. Disconnecting for a bit can help you recharge and feel better. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or dealing with cyberbullying, talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep it to yourself. There’s help out there, and people who care about you.

Alright, that’s it for today’s topic! Remember, we’re all in this digital world together, and it’s up to us to make it work for us, not against us. Digital overuse is real, but so is our power to find balance, protect our mental health, and create a bright future both online and offline. Let’s keep the conversation going, support each other, and make smart choices when it comes to our screens. We’ve got this!

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About the author Xin Xuan:

Xin Xuan is a professional counsellor and behaviour therapist specialising in evidence-based modalities such as cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance & commitment therapy, motivational interviewing, applied behaviour analysis therapy, play therapy, and more.