Balancing Tech And Life With Google’s Digital Wellbeing

balancing tech and life with google’s digital wellbeing

It’s time to be honest - how much time do you spend on your devices? Do you sleep easy when your phone isn’t by your side?

As with everything in life, balance is necessary. Too much sleep, and you get lethargic, too little, and you become tired. Same thing with gadgets - too much screen time, and you lose out on the real world.

balancing tech and life with google’s digital wellbeing

At Google Malaysia’s Digital Wellbeing Retreat in Templer Rainforest Retreat recently, a bunch of media, creators and influencers got the opportunity to reflect on their digital habits. So important, but so underrated.

Sure, less screen time is great and all, but is locking your phone away for long periods of time really the way to go? Just like with other issues, learning and controlling yourself is the best method. The gift of technology should complement our lives, not distract us from it!

“What we hoped for from all participants was to be ready to challenge themselves with specific actionable items. Whether that’s limiting themselves to taking only 1 photo of each activity or to turn off notifications for the day. It was amazing to be part of the discussions today and it’s an important conversation to continue having. Digital Wellbeing is very personal and different for everyone because we each have a different relationship with tech. Some of us rely on this for our livelihoods, while others may be concerned with how their kids are growing up with technology. We hope everyone that attended today has left with a plan of how they’ll each find their own balance with technology,” said Nadia Khan, Communications Manager for Consumer Products at Google Malaysia.

A study by research agency Millward Brown found that Asians spend around 439 minutes - roughly 7 hours in total - on screens per day. From that 7 hours, about 2 hours are spent looking at a second screen! It’s sad but we probably look at screens more than we look at our families these days.

balancing tech and life with google’s digital wellbeing

"We often bring the emotions that are triggered online, by social media posts or emails that we read, into our offline world as well. This inability to separate the two worlds may lead to undue stress and anxiety unto oneself and those around us.,”  shared Joan Low, founder of Thoughtfull.

balancing tech and life with google’s digital wellbeing

Meanwhile, certified Ishayas’ Ascension Meditation teacher Dominic Aw demonstrated a quick session on how and why it is so important to disconnect from technology. “Many go through their day unaware of how and why their use of social media or devices affect their peace with mind, joy, contentment and even creativity which flow naturally in life,” he said.

One rather interesting thing introduced at the retreat was how Google utilised tech to counter the use of tech. Laura Scott, APAC Communications Manager for Google's Hardware products demonstrated some of Google’s own tools and features for wellbeing. From timers to grayscale mode to customised notifications, the features were all about helping users to disconnect from their phones just a little bit and be more present.

“The idea is to embrace tech in a way that is harmonious with other aspects of our lives. In an age where technology powers most of our lives from the very moment we wake up, we want people to be able to mindfully engage and not miss out on life’s important moments. With tools geared to help people stay focused,  minimize distractions, and find balance, we hope that this will spur the conversations that people might have at home or with themselves to take stock of their daily digital habits and how it affects their lives,” said Laura. 

We are definitely gonna make use of some of these tools! Are you?

By: Celestine Foo