A Forbes article provides an interesting round-up of the problems of always-on technology in our lives. It outlines research across areas, all suggesting that being plugged in day and night has a range of damaging effects on our lives and our bodies. Work-related emails and pressure mean we rarely give our minds a chance to recover from the stress of the day, while the frequency of checking our social media is, alarmingly, ‘just the right amount to get the brain’s addiction centers engaged’. Ever felt you just ‘had’ to check your phone before dropping off to sleep?
In addition, the link between late-night computer use, sleep deprivation and depression is particularly bad news for parents already under pressure from long days and far too much to do. Tablet devices, on the surface so portable and bed/sofa-friendly, are coming under particular fire for disrupting serotonin production, the hormone that controls sleep.
However, the solution of turning off the tech, particularly work-related issues, may be attractive, but it’s a tough call. If you’re juggling family, work and home life, it’s entirely likely that you need spend at least part of your evening in front of the computer just keeping things going. The way information is managed these days means that from doing your banking to renewing your house insurance, finding a venue for your kid’s birthday party or planning the summer holiday, you need to be online.
We may realise we need to turn off the computer two hours before we go to bed – but if that’s the time the kids are finally in bed and the kitchen is tidy, it’s completely unrealistic.
One possible option is refusing to play the online game, using phone lines rather than online services where they’re available. But that often takes more time, even supposing it’s available when you need it.
Another option is finding someone else to do those tasks. Time Wizard offers a service on either a pay-as-you-go or a subscription basis, where we can do that kind of research, admin and online work, allowing you to manage the structure of your day in a healthier way. We can organise photos or music, or upload to your favourite sharing sites. We can’t do the Skype call with the grandparents, and you may not want us commenting on your friends’ facebook posts. But we may be able to help you sleep better, allow your brain to get some down time, and improve the overall quality of your life.