This article and comic was produced in collaboration with Studio Gilay.
Article by Jonathon Saunders.
In a world that's constantly buzzing with digital noise, finding moments of peace and happiness offline can be a welcome relief. This is especially true for Tuo, who, like many of us, sometimes feels exhausted by the constant notifications, social media chatter and demands of the online world. But as we can see in this comic, there are ways to switch off and reconnect with family and friends offline.
The impact of digital overload
There’s no doubt that being online is really fun. Who doesn’t love being able to chat with friends whenever you want or learning something new from a TikTok? But when your phone is constantly pinging with notifications, it can feel like you're expected to be available to everyone all the time. Plus, there are times when being online can feel scary or overwhelming, like when you’re dealing with trolls or you’re the victim of online racism or harassment.
Tuo also feels the pressure of the constant barrage of messages, likes and comments from social media, and can feel crushed by the weight of it.
How Tuo overcame the pressure
Exhausted by the flood of notifications, and in an effort to take back control of their own space and time, Tuo put down their phone. But when just putting down their phone didn’t feel like enough, Tuo talked about it with friends Wickie and Zig, and the three of them switched off from the online world and spent time together just having a feed, a laugh and a yarn.
Things you can do to switch off
Tuo's story reminds us that we can all benefit from stepping away from our screens every now and then. Try a couple of these steps if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some space from your phone:
- Pop your phone on silent or ‘do not disturb’. Turn off your notifications, or see if your phone has a focus mode where only essential messages come through, like ones from your family and friends.
- Set some boundaries around your phone use. Create a daily or weekly schedule that includes some time when you know you’re going to switch off and do something else that you love instead, like reading comics, cooking, or hanging with mates. If you think you’re spending a bit too much time online, try these 5 ways to tame your socials use.
- Do a socials cleanse. If you’re seeing a lot of things online that aren’t making you feel good, it might be time to do a social media cleanse! Unfollow people who aren’t sharing stuff that you enjoy, and block people if you need to.
- Spend some quality time with the people you love. If you’re struggling with how being online is making you feel, logging off and spending time with family and friends can really help. Organise to do something fun that makes it easier to stay offline and truly disconnect, like movie and game nights or a casual footy game.
Build healthy habits
As well as trying some quick tips to switch off, there are some more long-term habits you could put in place to help boost your mood and make it easier to cope when life online gets tough.
- Have a screen-free zone. Choose areas at home or work where you don’t use your phone or computer. Your bed is an excellent place to try this out, since cutting down on your screen time at night means you’ll also start sleeping better.
- Use the internet to learn new things. Instead of scrolling on socials for hours, try using the internet to learn something new, or to discover other hobbies and interests. You could try painting, playing a musical instrument, or gardening. Using your time online to learn something can be super fulfilling, plus it’s something positive to share in your next photo dump.
- Give mindfulness a try. Things like meditation and breathing exercises can help you to stay calm whenever you feel stressed. It might feel weird at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.
- Explore nature. Nature offers a tranquil escape from digital distractions. Take walks in your local parks, go camping, or simply sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.
What can I do now?
- Switch off! Pick one of the tips above to try out now and pay attention to how it makes you feel.
- Watch Tuo’s story about online bullying.
- Get some tips on how to be deadly online over at eSafety FirstNations.