Digital Wellbeing for dummies (in a relationship)
Becoming more aware of how we use technology is a must, especially during the lockdown when we tend to spend even more time on gadgets.
Last week I wrote a few words about phubbing and its impact on our lives. Now, you're probably trying to figure out how to make a change happen. Don't worry; this post is about small habits that you can try at home with your partner.
There's always room for improvement, so here are some Digital Wellbeing tips & tricks that you might find helpful:
Monkey see monkey do
The act of using our phones is contagious. During a conversation, if our partner opens the phone, we tend to do the same. This is explained by the phenomenon of social inclusion/exclusion (FOMO). When someone is phubbing, you will most likely feel excluded, and later you will restore the feeling of inclusion by opening your phone as well.
If you open your phone and act "busy", scrolling on Facebook or checking your email, you will send the wrong message, and you will both end up ignoring each other, causing a vicious circle.
So what can you do about it? Even if your mate opens the phone during a conversation, don't follow their lead. Instead, stare at him/her and wait. Wait to see how long it will take them to realize that something is not ok. By doing so, you’re showing them you're not comfortable, and you're expecting to be aware of your time spent together.
Set some tech-free moments
It is essential to establish those tech-free moments at home; just for the two of you; without phones, tablets or TV. Yet, don't forget to be reasonable! Don't try to implement too restrictive boundaries. These practices that you will set together should not be too harsh, but rather new ways of doing some little things. For example, when you're eating, try to put your phones aside and talk about your day. Or when you're getting ready for sleep: how about turning off the TV and read together/ or discuss something interesting?
The power of vulnerability
Vulnerability is not easy but has fantastic results. Remember to be open and calm, because otherwise this step cannot work properly. The next time you feel excluded, find the courage to be vulnerable in front of the loved ones. Tell them how you feel when they ignore you, why, but also what you would like to change.
Last but not least, if you can't resist the urge to check your notifications, then share the news/messages. By doing so, no one will feel excluded or ignored.
And don't forget to be creative and invent your own tactics! Digital Wellbeing is not about using technology less, but about enjoying its benefits to the fullest; moreover, it’s about being present and aware of the choices we make :).