Scroll-Free September

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Could You Ditch Your Screens For a Month?

You might be forgiven for thinking that you’d have no trouble at all ditching the use of the screens in your life for an entire month but – let’s face it – they are so integrated into modern life now that maybe you’d struggle more than you think. Could you really go without your favourite TV programmes?

What about news feeds? Think you can avoid looking at your emails for a month? There again, maybe you need to purchase something and can only find it online? Of course, there are a million and one reasons for using screens and we can all usually find one when we need it. The questions are: what would help you to ditch your screens and what would the benefits be of so doing in the first place?

The idea developed from TV Turn Off Week in the 1990s and it has subsequently gone on to incorporate other screen-based technologies, such as tablets and PCs. Now, the idea has been taken up and refined by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

How does a Scroll free month work?

The idea isn’t so much to go into a vacuum without any screen time at all. However, it is encouraging users of social media to stay offline for the whole of September. Like other public health programmes, such as Dry January which encourages abstinence from alcohol, it is hoped that the campaign will be a success for all those who take part in terms of their mental health.

Part of the approach in supporting social media consumers to ditch their screens for a limited period is that it is part of a wider public health campaign. Users should, therefore, not feel isolated by failing to check their feeds because others are taking part in exactly the same campaign. Scroll-Free September still allows those who are participating to watch TV and so on.

This, they hope, will lead to some important public health benefits. What are they potentially going to be?

1.Improve your mental health

According to Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health, Scroll-Free September will help to highlight the concerns that surround social media and how it is contributing to mental health issues, particularly with young people.

2. Avoid Social Media Addiction

There have been some high profile cases, such as the comedian Russell Kane, who has admitted to becoming addicted to social media. Kane has since sought counselling to help him with his addiction.

3. Reduce Depression and Anxiety

More widely, social media has been linked to cases of depression and anxiety and to other forms of mental health problems, like poor body image. By turning off social media and concentrating on something else, it is hoped that people will feel more empowered to use social media in a constructive way – without it controlling them.

4. Get a better nights sleep

Alternatively, you could try ‘Night Owl’ which means no social media usage after 6-pm. With improved sleep, less to worry about and more positivity, RSPH hopes that Scroll-Free September will become part of the nation’s annual psyche for years to come.

How much time should you spend offline?

Scroll-Free September offers commitments at varying levels to try and make it as inclusive for everyone as possible. If you fancy going without it entirely, then why not sign up to ‘Cold Turkey’?

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