Technology has undoubtedly become essential for productivity and communication in our professional and personal lives. But do you pull out your phone the instance you’re bored? You’re a zombie checker.
The most prominent reason users of all ages reach for their device is not to work, but to “zombie check”. These are the unthinking times you use your device throughout the day to avoid boredom. For example, pulling out your phone while in line for coffee, waiting for dinner to cook, or when there is a lull in a TV program.
We turn to our device when the task at hand becomes too difficult, too tedious, or simply unfulfilling. And we often use our smartphone for zombie scrolling because it’s always with us.
Our unproductive zombie screen hours can creep up – but they don’t need to rule us. With new tools now available to monitor your use of technology, here I’ve put together four steps to help you understand and maybe even change your tech habits.
Health risk with some technology use
Research shows that while creative, focused technology use has an overall positive effect on us, excessive unproductive use can have negative mental and socio-emotional implications for young people and adults. For example, it can contribute to reduced mental well-being, and sleep disturbances. Ensuring our screen time is useful and not excessive is important for adults and for children.
Digital detoxes are often posed as the answer to managing screen time. However, their underlying assumption that “all technology use is the same” is not a sustainable management approach.
A one-size-fits-all recommended number of screen hours also does not work. Even professional screen time recommendations for children acknowledge that placing a number on recommended hours is too difficult because of our varied technology needs and lifestyles.
Solution: cutting ‘zombie’ screen use
Data from the UK suggests the average person checks their phone every 12 minutes. The key to effective screen time management is to weed out uses that do not have a positive impact on your life, such as zombie scrolling.
The recent release of new screen time management tools available on our devices and social media platforms can help with this.