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With the increase in social media apps and our dependency on being connected to the internet and WiFi, one might ask themselves how much screen time is too much? How can we find balance working online and taking time to unplug. According to a recent study from Common Sense Media, 77% of parents feel their kids get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when their families are together. On the flip side, kids surveyed feel like 41% of their parents get distracted by devices and don’t pay attention to their kids.

Working in the tech world, it is hard to lecture how bad technology is because we love it. If you feel like your family is simply plugged in too much to their TVs, tablets, smartphones, and computers, creating some limits and guidelines can have huge rewards.

6 Ways to Unplug From Our Devices and Connect Live

Here are 6 ways that can help you unplug:

  1. Plan Ahead – It is important to actually schedule screen time. Being connected online is a must in this tech driven world. If we aren’t careful, it is easy to waste hours a day mindlessly scrolling through apps, online sites, and blogs. Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour each day to respond to text messages, emails, check notifications, and comments. Turn off notifications on your phone so you won’t be tempted to look on social or email until your designated time.
  2. Get Family Members On Board – Having a talk with your family about screen time is a great way to set yourself up for success. Nothing is harder than trying to develop a new habit only to have it sabotaged by someone that is close to you. Discuss ways you can cut back and create contracts with family members. When everyone knows what the expectations are, it is easier get on board.
  3. Lead by Example – If you get some resistance from family members, start with your self. Share what you are doing to unplug with those around you, and the positive effects of it. Start by not having your phone in your hand all the time. Put your device in a drawer or bag to limit distractions throughout the day. This not only communicates that you are present, but not distracted.
  4. Don’t Just Unplug, Connect – Make plans to fill you day with exciting activities. Plan outings or trips and be present in the moment instead of looking down at your screen to see what other people are doing and saying. Don’t live your life for likes and shares. Meaningful interactions come from connecting with real people and creating real relationships.
  5. Encourage and Reward – Create some sort of reward for yourself or family for sticking to your goals. If you are able to stick to the plan for a week, reward yourself by going out to eat or seeing a movie. When you have something to work towards, you are more likely to be successful.
  6. Plug Back In Together – Being connected is not a bad thing as long as it is done in a healthy manner. If your family loves technology, find ways to connect online. Set up a family game night where everyone can enjoy technology together. Create social media accounts where you can interact with family members. Look for ways to be inclusive instead of exclusive.

Technology is a wonderful thing as long as we use it responsibly. Find ways to unplug and connect with those around you. Setting limits for social and online activities can help us to have a healthy relationship with it so we don’t have to be so reliant on it.