Although the internet is an incredible resource, it’s also jam-packed with a lot of negativity.
Why You Should Focus On Your Internet Surfing Habits
It might seem like there’s so much time right now that you have nothing better to do than sit around and take part in Buzzfeed quizzes that tell you what type of pastry you’re like or go down an internet rabbit hole in search of that noughties song that’s been in your head for weeks. As thrilling and useful as this all may be (and I’m sorry to break it to you), all of this time mindlessly spent online is not only unproductive, but it can also seriously affect your mental and physical wellbeing.
But, I hear you ask, how can harmlessly spending time on the internet actually affect you? Well, if you’ve not watched The Social Dilemma and you’re unsure what the answer to this question is, don’t panic. In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly how spending time online can affect you, and why you should be focusing on not only how much time you’re spending online, but also what you’re subjecting yourself to, and at what time of the day.
There’s Way Too Much Negativity Online That Can Affect Your Mental Health
Although the internet is an incredible resource, it’s also jam-packed with a lot of negativity! Maybe you’ve found yourself getting more and more miserable as you flick through the endless negative news articles? Or perhaps you’ve sat for way too long watching a Twitter row go down? When you subject yourself to negativity online, you will begin to feel negative, simply because negativity breeds negativity!
Another common way that the internet can make you feel depressed, particularly in relation to social media, is that it demands you to constantly compare yourself to the filtered, edited, perfectly curated people and lives that you see online. This can make you feel insecure, lower your self-esteem, and even cause anxiety in your daily life.
The Internet Might Be Distracting You & Reducing Your Productivity
A study by Hootsuite and We Are Social showed that in 2019, people (all over the globe) spent 6 hours and 42 minutes per day online, on average. The study also showed that half of this time is spent on mobile devices. This time is very unlikely to all be work-related. In fact, let’s be honest, who actually does that much work from their phones? That’s most likely social media usage!
All of the time that we spend online is not only distracting us from the tasks that we actually need to get done, such as work or study, but it’s also reducing our productivity. Rather than getting a single work task done in one hit, most of us are likely to have little phone breaks along the way, and these little online bursts take us away from what we’re doing, interrupt our brain, and slow us down.
Never Switching Off Means You’re Overwhelmed 24/7
Have you ever gone away somewhere and turned your phone/laptop off completely for a few days? Immediately you feel a sense of loss and panic, but within an hour or two, you feel like an entirely new (and altogether better) person! This is because when we are constantly online and available to others via the internet, it overwhelms us.
It’s not within our nature to be readily available to people 24/7 on social media, to know every single news update throughout the day, or to have the answers to all of our bizarre questions at the drop of a hat via search engines. Spending too much time online and not putting boundaries in place leads to overwhelm, exhaustion, and even anxiety.
Spending Too Much Time Online Makes You Lazier
How many times do you sit down to just ‘check’ your phone and then realise an hour later that you’re still in the exact same position, scrolling mindlessly? Rather than going for a nice stroll, doing a workout, or even just cooking dinner after the workday has come to an end, most of us often find ourselves sucked into the online world, sat still.
Spending too much time online, whilst we’re sat still, promotes a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is shown to double the risk of cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and obesity. However, it’s not just your body that this kind of lifestyle affects - it’s also linked with depression and anxiety. So, maybe it’s time to put the phone down and get that heart rate up!
Being Online At Night Negatively Affects Your Sleep
It’s not just how much time you spend online, but it’s when you spend time online that affects you! Unlike even a decade ago when most people would get into bed and read a book to relax their mind or simply lie still, now the last thing that most people look at is their phone.
Whether you’re up into the early hours of the morning watching your favourite series, or you’re on your phone until the moment you go to sleep, the blue light emitted from your phone will stop melatonin (the sleep hormone) from being released, keeping your body feeling awake, messing up your circadian rhythm, therefore making you have less of a deep sleep (needed to restore the body), reducing the amount of sleep you have, and increasing the likelihood of insomnia.
Being Online Takes Away From Your Real Life
Let’s continue taking a look at the use of technology in the bedroom, but this time, to show how being constantly online is affecting our relationships! Research has found that nearly 74% of people use mobile technology in a shared bed at least once a week, but only 18% use technology together with the person they’re in bed with.
This statistic literally shows us how overusing the internet is tearing us apart from our real lives and the people around us. How insane is it that someone we love can be right next to us but we’d rather look at a Twitter thread we’ve noticed? If you don’t set boundaries on internet usage, you’ll be living a life that’s mainly online, and you’ll lose, or lack real connection in your life.
Ready To Focus On Your Online Habits?
Now you know how spending too much time online can affect you, both physically and mentally, it’s probably time to make a change! Check out your screen time and try and reduce it by half, connect with people in real life more, say bye-bye to comparing yourself with the lives you see on social media, and prioritise moving around more and sleeping soundly!