Technology is all around us. Whether you’re reading the latest news on a work laptop, scrolling social media, or opening a health app to check your daily steps – there’s no escaping it.
But how does all this mindless scrolling or round-the-clock news impact our mental health? Are you finding the right balance? And can you notice the signs telling you to switch off and take a digital detox?
Eugene Farrell, AXA Health’s mental health lead, explores why we all should be checking in on ourselves and asking if we need a break from the screen. Of course, there are benefits to having health information and support at the touch of a button (for example connecting with long distance friends), however, Eugene highlights how you could also be reaping the benefits of putting the tech away.
How much are we using technology?
Tablets, laptops, phones, smart watches, the majority of us use them on a daily basis but what are the numbers exactly? The latest stats from 2020 show that as a nation:
- 94% of UK homes had internet access by the end of 20201
- we spent an average of 3 hours 37 minutes a day on smartphones, tablets and computers1
- 39% of all UK adults used their smartphones for gaming1
- fifty years since the first email was sent, 88% of UK online adults now use an email service1
- in September 2020, 15 to 16-year-olds spent nearly five hours a day online1
- almost all adults aged 16 to 44 years, were recent internet users (99%), compared with 54% of adults aged 75 years and over.2
These numbers may seem alarming but connecting to the internet or using your phone is part of daily life for most of us. And there are benefits to having services now online, as well as information at the touch of a button.
For example, Mind’s 2019 men’s mental health report stated that 22% of men would be more likely to seek support if they felt worried or low if it was made available online.3
In the 2022 GP Patient Survey, it highlighted that: “around 3 in 10 patients said they’d used online services in the last 12 months to order repeat prescriptions” and “approximately 3 in 5 patients had tried to use their GP practice website to access information or services”.4
But how do you know if you’re using technology too much?