International Digital Wellness Day to Be Celebrated on May 5
Friday May 5th will see the fourth annual Digital Wellness Day being celebrated around the world. Last year, Digital Wellness Day reached 7 million people across 36 countries, with over 15 million people expected to take part this year via in-person and online gatherings. The annual event was founded in 2020 by the Digital Wellness Institute, the educational organization that aims to “provide free, research-based resources to support wellbeing in the digital era.”
The stated aim of Digital Wellness Day is to provide: “a time to ‘practice a pause’ and optimize our relationship with technology in different areas ranging from mental health to productivity, workplace wellbeing, and beyond.” So, what exactly is digital wellness?
What Is Digital Wellness?
Digital wellness is the art of living well, online. In an age governed by digital interconnectivity, it is the pursuit of a healthy relationship with technology, in both our working and personal lives. While children and teens — being the most vulnerable — are often the clear focus in conversations around digital wellness, it is a concept that applies to all, given that almost all are digital citizens in 2023.
The last couple of years have seen an ongoing and overdue conversation about the downsides of digital connectivity and the overuse of phones and social media. We’ve seen concerns about the exposure of children to harmful content on TikTok and other social media platforms — not to mention, the revelations that Facebook is fully aware of its harmful effects on children.
More recently, we’ve seen the phenomenon of “sharenting” (parents oversharing the personal lives of their kids) being looked at with a skeptical eye in regards to privacy and consent issues. As for adults, we’ve seen catastrophic levels of digital overreliance and burnout, for example, phenomena such as “zoom fatigue“, excessive pornography use, and increasing rates of loneliness.
Taken together, these myriad issues — far too many for one article — bring home the need for an initiative like Digital Wellness Day: a chance to reset, reconvene, and start living well online. If you’re interested in getting involved, the Digital Wellness Institute has a dedicated webpage here — they also have a great Q&A section.
Top Tips for Living Well Online
Now let’s look at some steps you can take to get proactive about digital wellness. While the work tips clearly relate to adults, the at-home tips are applicable whether you’re single or a family with children of any age. And for more detailed guidance, we’ve plenty of previous articles for you — you could start with our “Screen Time 101” guide.
- Take regular breaks from your screen and devices. Every 15 minutes or so, practice focusing on something non-digital with your eyes. Every 30 minutes, get up and stretch — take a walk around your home or office, and grab a refreshing drink or healthy snack.
- Curate your Zoom or other meeting software around your needs. For example, to minimize the mental load of eye contact, it helps to reduce the size of the meeting window. Likewise, it’s unnatural to see ourselves talking — consider turning off the self-view option. Finally, give yourself non-verbal breaks by turning off your camera periodically.
- Consider using pen and paper for some tasks, such as note taking if possible — anything to help reduce screen time and digital interaction.
- At the beginning and end of the day, tidy up your computer for a fresh start: that means clearing tabs, organizing your desktop, and ordering your emails. If working from home, a quick physical clean-up can also work wonders. It’s important to curate a healthy space, digital and non-digital.
- Reflect on your day as it comes to an end. What went well? What didn’t? And what’s the plan for tomorrow? Beyond this, set clear boundaries for yourself in digital availability beyond working hours.
- When you’re not working, try to plan several non-digital activities throughout the week. Consider reading a book, listening to music, the gym, long walks, gardening, or mindfulness techniques such as yoga stretching and mediation.
- Make a plan of action within the home, either for yourself or the whole family. What are your needs? And what small steps can you take now to improve your digital wellness? This could involve a ban on phones at the dinner table, or a digital curfew beyond a certain time.
- Teach your children about the importance of being good digital citizens. Don’t just tell but lead by example when it comes to right and wrong, dos and don’ts, and healthy habits online. We’ve another great article on social media safety tips for your children too.
- Consider the wonders of a digital detox. For great ideas on digital detox activities, head over here.
- Consciously try to limit your social media and email use in your leisure time. Make use of device settings, such as focus mode and turning off notifications. Instead of messaging online, why not phone a friend or meet up outside?
A Helping Hand from Trend Micro
For more ideas on how to live well online in 2023, why not take a look at our “Top 5 Digital Healthy Habits for Families in 2023“.
Furthermore, our Internet Safety for Kids and Families program will be a great resource for the year ahead. It was founded in 2008, since becoming a great success by reaching over 3 million students, parents, and teachers in 20 countries. Its Cyber Academy is a fun interactive series for children and their parents to learn lessons on internet safety and digital wellness. The lessons Healthy Habits and Safety Settings would be a great start.
There’s also our FREE Trend Micro Family tool. With linked apps for both parents and kids, you’ll receive updates from Trend Micro on what your children are searching for, viewing, and even what locations they have visited. Add to that our real-time AI that blurs inappropriate content, as well as our social media privacy protection tool — and this glowing review from TechRadar is no surprise.
As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a healthy-habits 2023!
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