Two Fine Gael TDs have called on people to be more mindful of their screen time in the New Year.
Galway Deputy Hildegarde Naughton and Dublin Deputy Noel Rock challenged themselves to a digital detox to limit the personal use of their phones, highlighting the need to ‘switch off’ in an increasingly digital age.
Over the course of three days, Deputies Naughton and Rock cut back on screen time during down time such as lunch or unwinding before bed.
Both TDs said they noticed an improvement in their mood and sleep when they limited their scrolling on social media, especially in the evening.
Deputy Naughton said: “Having my head stuck in a screen is one of the hazards of my job. I have really not given the consequences of it much thought until the last few weeks.
“I thought the best way to switch off in the New Year was to leave my phone outside my bedroom door at night. This way I would still hear the alarm in the morning but won’t be tempted to start scrolling through.
“It has really improved my ability to relax last thing at night and also my ability to get to sleep. The quality of that sleep has certainly and noticeably improved.
“Additionally, if you are not constantly exercised about what you might or not be missing on your device it allows you concentrate more fully on the task in hand and certainly leads to a less stressful day.
“I would urge everyone to allow themselves to step away from their device at least for a few hours a day and particularly late evenings.
“Even such a small thing can have really positive effects on your mood and sleep pattern. It is something I will continue to work on.”
Dublin North West Deputy Noel Rock said: “I was glad to take part in a digital detox.
“Some of the figures when it comes to mobile phone use are startling. 13% of people admit to checking their phones more than 100 times a day.
“It’s clear we need to be mindful of the habit and, while they can be very useful for work, it’s important that we take time away from our phones – whether it’s a half hour at lunch or a break in the evening – too.”
Deputy Naughton added: “I have certainly noticed an improvement in my ability to “switch off” from the problems of the day.
“It is hugely important for your mental health to be able to step back from the frenzy of a busy day and give your brain a rest.”
*Follow Hildegarde and Noel’s digital detox diary on the Fine Gael Twitter account: https://twitter.com/FineGael/status/1082202480300171264