Time to take back control of your tech?

One of the things my clients tell me a lot is how they want to be on their phones LESS. They often start with good intentions to lower their tech use, but slowly it creeps back in!

But also, so many of my clients tell me that one of their biggest stresses, is their kids / teenagers tech use and the impact of that. It’s so, SO difficult for parents of this generation.

We (and I’m talking parents 35+ I guess here) are the first generation that didn’t have any tech in our childhood / teen years. Bringing up a generation of children who have only had a childhood / teen years with tech.

Here’s some recent stats…

📱 “85% of people with a smart phone check it within 15 minutes of waking up”

📱 “80% of people use their phone right up until bed time”

📱 “89% of parents blame themselves for their child’s cell phone usage.”

📱 “85% of people have no problem using their phones whilst talking to friends or family.”

📱”Nearly 40% of parents and children said they argued daily about technology (and this stat was from 2016 – so my guess is this would be way more now.

📱”Nearly half of American children (aged 5 to 15) are spending more than six hours a day in front of a screen”

📱”Many teenagers are spending more time on tech than they are sleeping and 83% of teens say they are often on technology without their parents knowing after they have gone to bed”

If tech was easy to manage, easy to cut back on, easy to stay off of, everyone would do it, right?!

But smart phones, social media, WhatsApp, Xbox, apps etc… are not only ALL designed to be addictive. But ARE addictive!

There are some wonderful benefits of technology, but the drawbacks of too much tech really are quite frightening!  Especially for children and teens. And the problem’s go way beyond online safety.

“Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram leverage the very same neural circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible. Positive, social stimuli results in a release of dopamine. And these platforms take advantage of our dopamine-driven desire for social validation” (references below)

We are a dopamine generation. Author of Dopamine Nation, Dr Lembke calls the smart phone the “modern-day hypodermic needle”. And that ‘we turn to it for quick hits, seeking attention, validation and distraction with each swipe, like and tweet. Since the turn of the millennium, behavioural (as opposed to substance) addictions have soared. Every spare second is an opportunity to be stimulated. Rather than giving us pleasure itself, as is commonly thought, dopamine motivates us to do things we think will bring pleasure.Although we have endless founts of fun at our fingertips, “the data shows we’re less and less happy,” (references below)

And as a mindset / life management coach who see’s an awful lot tech-related mental health and social anxiety issues in my practice. AND being a Mum of 14 year old twins and a 6 year old girl, I have a wealth of professional and personal experience, perspective and success, regarding positive technology management.

I manage tech well at home – but it is very hard for parents. New tech habits can appear at any time and new issues, challenges and changes in behaviour can happen as a result – so you have to act fast. But many parents don’t join the dots, because there is a delayed reaction to certain technology use (especially social media, smart phone use and information overload)

So if you’re thinking, I’d really like to take back command of technology myself and in my home, read on for some quick starter tips to help you take back control today!

10 Tech Management Tips! 

Here’s a few key things you might want to consider and some key things I do that will make a big difference!

📱Start the day without it! – Have a little time without being plugged in first. Even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes – that will have a positive impact. I now don’t typically turn my phone on until I get to the gym at 815am  – total mood & mindset game changer! When I am coaching people (especially younger people) with depression, low mood, anxiety and I ask how they start their day, it is non surprise the way they feel like they do as it’s all tech related; from you tube to social media platforms to Whatsaap groups. When we change this, everything changes!

🖥 Have pockets of tech free time in the day and week! –  It doesn’t have to be a specific timetable (although that can help some people!). And I often have my phone on airplane mode have it in a draw for a couple of hours here and there. I’ll often say to myself at 4pm, right that’s it for the day! And make a conscious decision to be OFF it. Sometimes I do that for 24 hours. And I love to take 48 hours off social media for work now and again. For productivity reasons I don’t have my phone near me when I work and I have an alarm clock on my desk instead – I have deliberately lowered my smart phone / social media use and my kids observe these things too. One of the most powerful conditioning behaviours regarding habits is observational learning; where we (often unconsciously!) do what others do around us. One client said she was trying to take back command of her 12 year olds tech use and he said “Dad takes the iPad into the loo, why can’t I?!”. If you’re a parent, look at the habits your kids may have learnt from you. No judgement, but there will be an impact.

🎮 I am the owner of my children’s phones! – I pay for them, I pay for the wifi, the electricity that charges them etc, therefore they are MY phones. This means I control the time my kids are on them, what happens to them, and what they use them for! Many clients I work with massively struggle with tech-management at home, with technology being the “bartering currency for pretty much anything regarding kids and teens”. But I’m the boss of the tech in my house. A kind, smiley and balanced boss, but none-the-less, the boss!

📱 Non-negotiables! –  I love non-negotiables! On a BEST Q and A recently, I shared that we have some clear non-negotiables in my home regarding tech. We have tech-free car journeys – Yep, there are NO phones used in the car when we drive anywhere. We talk or have music. I don’t allow my 14 yr old boys to take their phones with them when we go out shopping / for walks – we leave them in my car or they are switched off in my handbag. They are only allowed to be on ONE social media platform. There is no Xbox after dinner ever. And no phone use after 8pm and their phones stay downstairs overnight. They are totally cool with this and I’ll be teaching how I’ve made this happen effortlessly on my program  TECH BOSS 1.0 👩‍💻(see details below)

💻 We have NO idea what it’s like to be a child or teenager in a tech world – I am part of the last generation of people that didn’t have tech in their childhood AND teen years. And if we have children now, they are the first generation of kids who have never had a childhood with out it! This difference of “maps of the world” is huge. But the impact of tech on teens is utterly frightening. But when it’s hard to get them off it and many parents are overwhelmed, exhausted and don’t know what to do, many give up. Please don’t do this! Let me help you! Mental health, anxiety, self-harming, confidence issues, teens ability to cope with basic life challenges etc. are all on the increase. We have to step into their world to understand the impact of technology; both being on it too much and even the impact of being on it less. We need to understand the impact of dopamine, information overload and things like social exclusion

🕹 Get used to doing more of the old fashioned things! –  Technology is a habit, our use is a learned behaviour and it’s crept up on us so subtly but SO fast. And many people have simply forgotten what it’s like to live without it. So start practicing! What would you have done 15 / 20 years before smart phones (these were released 15 years ago in 2007)? What would your kids have done? We have simply forgotten this world, but we can bring (some of!) it back. Me and my teens love doing old fashioned things like The Name Game, Squares etc. Some of my clients said “my teens would never do that” but I taught them how to introduce these things in slowly and calmly and guess what, their kids and teens LOVE this sort of stuff – you just have to sell it to them in the right way!

🖥 Create changes slowly and positively! –  If you have children, whatever you do, don’t go off after reading this and say “Janey says…”! On my TECH BOSS 1.0 I’m going to be teaching people how to communicate so they are respected and heard. And how to get the family engaged. Women I believe are technology gate keepers of the home! Of course if partner’s tech use and values are different to yours, which kids are very clever at detecting, that can create even more problems. That’s why starting with little adjustments can be way more conducive than the big things. Using a strategy called “The Compound effect” you can build up monumental improvements without withdrawal symptoms and backlash. I’ll be covering a lot of compound effect on my course. And the importance of having clarity with your tech values, needs and non-negotiables that you can share positively with those around you.

🎮 Look at your smartphone and social media YES / NO choices! –  When you say yes to something, you are indirectly saying no to something OR someone else. Always stop and think, what else could I be doing? How is this impacting me? Or those around me? I have a “No WhatsApps groups” rule. Whenever I’m added, I let the person know I don’t do these and then leave. Someone in the school playground said “you’re so brave”! Not really, more just clear on my boundaries! We are SO worried what other people think, what we might miss out on and we need so start putting what WE need and want first. And FOMO is one of the biggest reasons people and especially teenagers get stuck on tech. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve worked with have come to me because of Whatsaap group related stresses; whether being bombarded by work ones or pressure from personal / friendship ones. A lot of tech management is actually mind management, a speciality of mine as a mindset coach!

📱 Technology adjusts how we see and experience the world! –  And this can make our own reality seem boring and make us feel low or disconnected to the real world. Kids hooked on Xbox will often find books, lessons and normality a struggle. Also, when you see images on social media, we fill in the blanks with what we assume people must be thinking, feeling, living and it’s all made up! When we compare our back of house to someone else’s front of house an incorrect comparison kicks in and we go against ourselves and our lives. Trust me, in my line of work I see a LOT of backs of people’s houses. And that is usually a world away to how they come across on social media. Kids struggle with boredom, but boredom is SO good for you. We also know that technology is an emotion pacifier. But when we pacify emotions, we don’t deal with them and that will show up further down the line,

💻 Whatever you don’t change you are choosing! –  A key message of mine that I use across all areas of life. But this is very true of technology. There may be parts you can’t choose. For example 90% of my teenagers homework is done via an APP (I hate this!!!). When I was a member of David Lloyd earlier this year, you could only book classes on the APP. But many people have fallen into a tech trap and think they can’t get out. But you CAN! 🥰

Technology CAN be enjoyed, you CAN reclaim the technology boundaries in your home and you CAN teach your kids how to live happily with less technology. And YOU can live happily with way less too.

And there doesn’t have to be strict rules and shouting. And I’m not saying you can’t ever have an aimless scroll on social media – I love that from time to time!

But I know just how many people need some help with with these sorts of things.  Especially with the kids / family / home side. So take a look at my simple, but very powerful TECH BOSS 1.0 program by clicking HERE!

Any questions let me know,

Janey x

Here are a couple of articles taken from the TECH BOSS 1.0 library that I’ve put together for my program that I reference above

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2021/aug/22/how-digital-media-turned-us-all-into-dopamine-addicts-and-what-we-can-do-to-break-the-cycle

Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time

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