3 Steps to a Healthier Digital Life

Updated: Mar 20

Welcome to a "Techless" Guest Post by: Jordan Hopkins

Have you seen Flav City?

It’s hypnotic watching as Bobby points out his “approved” ingredients at Costco and cooking with his little daughter.

It’s fascinating to learn the difference between Genetically Modified (GMO) ingredients and Organic ingredients.

It’s liberating...and scary, navigating our food sources and ingredients can be nerve-wracking.

But what about technology?

From our smartphones, social media accounts, and streaming, is it possible to find a healthy diet of technology?

Like checking the ingredients list and shopping wisely, here are three easy tips for living a healthier tech life.

1. Check your digital caloric-intake

You’re not going to blindly grab a box of GMO cookies off a shelf and scarf them when you get home (well, maybe every now-and-then). But most of the time, you’re intentional about what you shop for, how you spend your money, and what you put into your body.

You also have to ask yourself what you’re “shopping” for and consuming digitally.

As a challenge, review your screen time consumption on your iPhone or Android. If you have an Android, follow these four easy steps. If you have an iPhone, swipe right from the left hand side, and you’’ find a summary...

Do this check for several days and look for patterns in your digital caloric-intake. You may find your few weak spots or areas you're over-consuming. No guilt, just awareness-building.

For me, I can easily slip into the Twitter or Instagram-verse for gobs of hours, and this check has highlighted that tendency.

2. Seek organic connection

So, the only way to deal with a diet heavy with digital calories is to seek organic connection.

Organic connection looks like...

  • a phone call or FaceTime with friends

  • walking the dog and chatting with a neighbor

  • playing a board game with family

It can also look like some much-needed time to yourself.

In contrast, much of our digital caloric-intake is endless scrolling or getting stuck in the comparison trap.”

This is not to say “all screen time is bad.” Rather, if you embrace people more than your phone, you will find yourself increasing healthy, organic connection.

3. Read the “ingredients list” on new apps

I love it when Bobby flips over a bag of seemingly “grass-fed” beef and tears apart the ingredients list. He can spot artificial flavoring and corn syrup a mile away.

Be like Bobby. Inspect those apps, new software, new phones you buy. Flip over the packages and read their ingredients lists.

You’ll find some odd things peppered in there…

  • Privacy

  • Security

  • Biometrics

  • Personal data

  • Third-party advertising

Normally, artificial ingredients are something we ingest. When it comes to your digital life, ask yourself, What am I giving away to companies?

So, read the ingredients list on that new app you downloaded or that new iPhone you’re setting up.

Here are some quick easy tips to leave those bad ingredients behind:

Skip permissions if possible

If that new device is asking for permission to connect this or that, consider tapping “Skip for now” or “Not at this time.”

If Alexa asks, “Do you want me to connect this?” Or “You can start a trial of…” just skip it.

You can always log into Amazon or an application on your computer to do those steps.

Do your research on apps

Check for hidden ingredients, especially with kids.

We did a deep-dive on the safety hazards of the iPhone for kids, and discovered “approved” App Store tools with huge red flags. For instance, one is disguised as a “calculator” app, but it’s made for hiding sensitive material behind a secret code.

In short, read up on those apps. One great resource is Common Sense Media’s reviews.

Check that smartphone

Most modern smartphones offer software for free (at first). But, it comes at your cost by monetizing your data by sharing it with third parties.

Set your Privacy & Security Settings to the max on your smartphone.

Only sync your core apps.

Be hesitant to give the phone permission unless you absolutely have to.

And this is why a few companies have made healthier smartphone alternatives. Techless, for example, released Wisephone — a phone with only the key tools you need to stay connected. With no ads, distractions, or built-in addictions, it puts your focus and safety first, pure and simple.

Living fully…

We all can’t be as fit and well-off as Bobby from Flav City. Some can’t afford a steady diet of organic foods, nor do we all have the time to shop that in-depth.

But we can all take small steps to use our tech more intentionally and to live more fully.

For more next steps on a healthy tech life, check out Techless’s free online resource, “Live Fully: 9 Goals for Digital Well-being.”

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