By: Derek Prospero – Bayshore Solutions Design Team
It’s hard to ignore the impact that online information has had on our lives. High-speed Internet connections—once considered a luxury—are now comparable to critical utilities like water and electricity. More and more jobs require us to interface with screens and keyboards. Phones and portable devices give us uninterrupted access from virtually anywhere. Man has long aspired to collect all of the world’s information. For many kids today, “Googling” for answers is instinctual, even if they have no understanding of where those answers come from. Even those of us who remember the days when answers came on paper tend to take for granted this miraculous access to vast knowledge.
Still, as with most things, too much Internet can begin to strain aspects of our lives. For children, much of the unmonitored online experience can be inappropriate, even dangerous. For adults who work and play online, the constant access can overwhelm. The result is a growing trend of consciousness about how we spend and ration our time online. Studies show that our increasingly-connected culture is having a direct effect on our brains. They have given rise to recommendations from people who are discovering ways to maintain control over this powerful influence. Here are some tips for striking a healthy balance between online and offline activity.
- If you work in a job that requires you to spend most of your day on a computer, make an effort to avoid the screen for a few hours when you first get home.
- Staring at a bright screen before bed is proven to inhibit sleep activity, affecting us even after the process of REM begins. Instead, read a book or give your eyes a rest altogether.
- Take frequent breaks during extended periods of computer activity, even if it only involves standing up and looking away from the screen for a few minutes every half-hour.
- If you have the space, consider designating a room in your house as an Internet-free zone for purposes of relaxation and unplugging.
- Keep emails short. If it takes longer than a few sentences to write, consider picking up the phone and re-engage the dying art of conversation.
- If eye strain is a problem, you might find some relief from specialty eye-wear designed to reduce fatigue from extended monitor viewing.
- Pay attention to your posture and ergonomics. Research keyboards that help avoid repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel.
- If your phone seems to be ruling your life, take control. Designate times to either turn it off or leave it behind. You can do it!
- Maintain a healthy connection to the real world by taking the scenic route to your answers. Visit a book store, join a club, or engage any activity that adds a personable element to your knowledge-seeking.
These are just a handful of tips, with many more waiting to be discovered. The Internet is an unprecedented advancement in the history of our species. The unlimited access to vital, global information is indeed a modern utility that is less realistically abandoned than moderated. And just like water and electrical utilities, it needn’t be left running all the time to maximize its benefits.