'I went on holiday and my daily screen time went up to 13 hours a day.'

You know how they say you need a holiday to get over your holiday and then you all laugh and laugh and then you rub your bleary eyes and stop laughing because holey moley, holiday-ing is EXHAUSTING. 

And I’m not even talking about the 36 hours it took me (but not my suitcase) to get home from my Euro summer last week. 

No, I am publicly shaming myself over the 42 Instagram posts and no less than 274 stories that I curated for no one other than my own personal Instagram account (you’re welcome fam) during my precisely three and a half week trip. 

Watch: Computer Vision Syndrome. Post continues after podcast. 

Video via Mamamia.

On top of that, add in two different road trips — including one which featured a five-hour death-defying drive on an unsealed mountainous road in Albania — with all the passenger seat DJ-ing and Google Maps navigating, and I managed to rack up a heck of a lot of screen time

So much so that I may as well have been working, because at least then I would have been getting paid. 

But instead (now that I’m back in the real world), I’m being haunted by repeat notifications about how much my daily screen time has dropped compared to my “holiday” average. 


Like a 24 per cent decrease this week. 

That can’t be right, I initially thought to myself, as someone who uses her phone A LOT for work. And then I delved into the stats.

Settings. Screen time. See all activity. I touched the screen of my iPhone with trepidation.

On Monday 24 July, better known as my first Monday back in the office, the figure read 7h 46min.


Okay, look I know that’s bad, but that’s actually pretty normal for me... so how much worse could my European screen time be? 

Umm, like a whole lot worse, you silly goose. 

I scrolled back through the weeks I was away as the numbers rose in front of me. 

One Friday read 9h 10min. But by the time it was Monday, I’d reached 12h 35min. It had been my first day in Italy, when we sat in a hire car queue for two hours before a two-hour drive.  

Fair enough, I reasoned to myself. That’s normal right?? 

But by Friday, the day I flew back to the UK and caught two different trains for three hours, I’d reached the 13h 18min mark. 

I tapped out to view my stats for the week. My usage was up 46 per cent from the week prior (during which I was also ON HOLIDAY) and my total screen time from Monday to Sunday was 71h 46min. 

I felt sick. And scrolled further. 

Apparently, I’d had 1,541 pickups that week (how many times I literally picked up my phone) with an average of 234 notifications each day. 

Listen to the hosts of Help I Have A Teenager discuss hacks to reduce your family's screen time. Post continues after podcast. 

And of all the hours I'd spent on my phone that week, 23h 17min were on Instagram. 


My self-diagnosed-RSI-riddled right hand clenched in horror (or at least it tried to). 'HOW HAD I WASTED 23 HOURS OF MY HOLIDAY ON INSTAGRAM?' I screamed at myself with no one to blame except myself. 

Okay, time for action. Or maybe inaction, because according to a new study published in the Journal of Technology of Behavioural Science, reducing social media usage by as little as 15 minutes per day can increase health and well-being (and maybe I’ll get full movement back in my right hand one day soon). 

Because it turns out that overuse of social media can lead to a huge range of issues including increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality, decreased physical activity and decreased face-to-face social interaction.

So, how to break this social media dependence and mobile phone addiction?


Well, it’s only been a few days since I made these TRULY HORRIFYING STATISTICALLY DISCOVERIES, but I feel like I’m off to a strong start. At least in the evenings. 

Firstly, I’ve been having PUT-THE-PHONE-DOWN-AND-ACTUALLY-WATCH-THE-DAMN-TV kind of evenings, where — shocker — I don’t have my iPhone in my hand while staring at another screen. 


Secondly, I’ve been parenting myself to turn off the TV and start getting ready for bed at 9 pm to give myself ample time before a strict lights-out policy at 10.30 pm. 

And thirdly, I’ve repeatedly managed to pick up the book (A Thousand Splendid Suns for those of you playing at home) that's been sitting on my bedside table for months and actually read it. Because, and sometimes it takes actually doing the activity to realise how much better it is than being on your phone, reading is freaking awesome. It’s like a holiday for the mind. 

And god knows, my mind could do with one of those. 

Image: Supplied + Mamamia.

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