Celebrating International Digital Wellness Day
International Digital Wellness Day will be celebrated around the world on Friday, 7 May 2021. The aim of this day is to raise global attention for mental, physical, emotional health, and safety when using digital devices.
According to Dr Marlena Kruger, founder of the Technolife Wise Foundation and integrative wellness coach, now is as good a time as any to start changing our behaviour and nurture our humanity instead of being slaves to technology and screens.
“The internet user statistics for South Africa are staggering. According to Statista, a German company specialising in market and consumer data since January 2021 there are 38,13 million internet users in South Africa of which 36 million (92,6%) use mobile devices to access the internet. Ninety-nine percent of social media users access the internet via their phones. More than 50% of the internet traffic in South Africa is linked with children under the age of 18 years and 40% of South Africa’s population is active users of social media.
Based on the above statistics, it seems like screens are taking precedence over our time, our relationships, our health, and our well-being. For this reason, it is essential to take active preventative steps to curb the overuse of screens and other digital devices.
“It is vital to educate all people, but also specifically parents and children, in how to implement strict boundaries to prevent the uncontrolled and open use of screens in homes, at school as well as in the workplace. We must also know how to identify red flags,” says Dr Kruger. “It’s no longer about prevention only: The need to support people of all ages to break this addiction is becoming greater.”
Finding a healthy balance
To find a healthy balance and experience digital wellness in all its dimensions (including health and well-being), the first and most important step is to limit our time in front of screens, whether it is cell phones, tablets, computers, or television.
The second step is to recognise the warning signs: Scientific research shows over-exposure to screens has a negative impact on our sleep patterns and could cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
“There is also an increase in obesity and diabetes because of our much more sedentary lifestyle. An exponential increase in electro-pollution contributes to more cases of electro-hypersensitivity, digital dementia, infertility, and certain types of cancers among younger people.
“The increase in auto-immune diseases is also linked to more toxicity in our environments, although we can’t always see the invisible electro-magnetic fields because of too many electronic devices, including Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, and smart meters in our homes, schools and workplaces.
“I’d like to encourage young and old to become more mindful when engaging with technology and screens so that it doesn’t affect our humanness; the wonderful beings we’ve been created to be,” Dr Kruger concludes.
In support of and to celebrate International Digital Wellness Day, the Technolife Wise Foundation will be hosting a free seminar titled Exploring the links and solutions for ADHD, Digital Screen Syndrome and Autism (ASD).
*You can register at www.technolifewise.org for this free seminar on Friday, 7 May 2021 from 15:00 to 16:00.