I scream, you scream, we all scream for on screen. Said no one ever. But now we’ve got your attention, it’s time we had a little chat. You’ve been staring at your screen for so long that since you last looked up, the world has changed. And whilst we realise the irony of delivering this advice via a device, it really is high time that we collectively started using our phones, tablets and laptops less. Because our addiction is doing harm to our eyes, concentration, social lives and privacy, amongst other concerns, and something’s got to give. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to reduce your screen time.

ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE A PROBLEM

The first step to recovery is by acknowledging a problem exists in the first place. Indeed, since screen time has become so ingrained in our everyday, it’s sometimes hard to notice just how reliant we are on our phones and the web. It’s important, though, not to get too tangled. Simple ‘screen time’ assessments provided by your phone can tell you just how long you’ve been flicking, swiping and clicking each day, and nine times out of ten, it’s a real eye opener. Once you’ve got over the shock, you can start to implement some solutions.

SCREEN-FREE ZONES

There are times when you need to be glued to a screen; for most of us, during the working day for instance. And that’s fine. But there are other occasions when phone or tablet use has become habitual, and it’s having a detrimental impact on our lives. If you value your sleep, and you really should, then you should keep devices away from the bed, preferably charging in another room. We all know the negative effects of a blue light on a good night’s rest, so be vigilant before bedtime.

Equally important are meal times; a part of the day when we can unwind, chat with family and appreciate the simple things in life like a great meal. If you’re fork in one hand and Tinder or one of the best bingo sites in UK in the other, well, that’s not a good look during dinner. Don’t let phones disrupt this special, humble time. By enacting these small, positive changes, you’ll notice your screen time decreases significantly.

‘APPY TO HELP

Counterintuitive, we know, that you’d need an app to reduce your screen time. Sinister, even. But there’s plenty of software out there to help you use your devices less and negate the harmful effects of too much usage. ‘Freedom’ is one such app; helping you to block websites which you feel are distracting you. ‘Self Control’ is another, this time designed for Macs. Make sure you deploy your phone’s ‘night mode’ feature, too, which renders your screen in a far less appealing browny hue after hours, reducing sleep disruption and your phone’s addictive properties.

LESS ON SCREEN & MORE IN PERSON

That Whatsapp group of all your pals gossiping and sub-gossiping, complementing, backstabbing and seeking validation; have you noticed that the more you converse on there, the less you bother to actually meet in person? When was the last time you looked your friend in the eye and said something nice, rather than simply respond with another meme? Just say no. By dialling up the face-to-face socialising, and toning down the social networking, you’ll be reducing your screen time and getting out there and seeing your friends. A double win; killing two birds with zero tweets.

BE SCEPTICAL

With every permission granted, every ‘allow app to access location’ and the rest, you’re compromising your privacy, giving away your data for free and helping companies with malevolent agendas make the world a worse place. Be sceptical of every second you spend on screen, absentmindedly endorsing another rigged referendum or post-truth conspiracy theory.