Why I turned off screen time notifications #lifethisweek

Self care stories

Denyse’s prompt for #LifethisWeek is all about sharing Self Care stories…which got me thinking about something that’s been niggling away at me for a while now.

Self care
Self care

Screen time!

What is screen time?

Screen time is the amount of time spent using a device with a screen such as a smartphone, computer, television, or video game console. The concept is under significant research with related concepts in digital media use and mental health. Studies show that screen time directly impact child development, and mental and physical health. The positive or negative health effects of screen time are influenced by levels and content of exposure. To prevent harmful exposure to screen time, some governments have placed regulations on its usage.


Are screen time notifications helpful or a hindrance?

I understand that as a retired 60 year old, I am not the target audience for worrying about screen time – it’s primarily aimed at minimising children’s time on screens and I can see the benefit of this, especially as I have seen the way children are attracted to the brightness of screens in all their forms.

Up until recently I was getting weekly updates on my phone, keeping me informed as to how much time I was spending on my screens.

It did my head in!

Now I think I’m an average user of technology but the numbers it was telling me each week seemed a bit out of control. Considering I’m not into playing games on my phone, I don’t stream or watch shows on my phone and I am retired with no children using my devices, it was a bit scary….and demoralising!

Each week, I felt like I’d been called to the Principal’s office or I was being hauled over the coals for some ongoing misdemeanour at work. Yes I know I’m a 60 year old educated woman, but that’s how I felt. Add to that the feeling of guilt!

Was I addicted, out of control or using my phone a little too much?? (Don’t ask my family that question).

I must admit my phone is never far away, it is an essential piece of equipment these days with QR checkin codes required where ever we go, noting places of concern due to Covid infections, showing our digital Covid certificate, checking the daily numbers, stats, listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts, replying to comments on my blog, using various forms of social media, not to mention simply staying in touch with friends and family during these unprecedented times!

Many of my family are still in various stages of lockdown or out reach for travel purposes so we use video chats to stay in touch – stop trying to justify your use says my inner voice!!

I found the screen time notifications were upsetting me more than helping me, so I simply turned off the setting and it’s made such a difference – no more heaviness of guilt, trying to justify my screen time (mainly to myself) and a new found freedom! It did make me aware which was good thing but I found I don’t need that reminder anymore.

Sometimes it’s the little things ins’t it?

screen time setting on my iPhone
screen time setting on my iPhone

Do you have any thoughts to share?

Is this something you have found too or am I the only one? Do you think I have a guilty conscience? I think the screen time settings are a great way for families to keep track of their child’s screen time and even adults need a check up regularly.

Many of my blogging friends have taken a break, pressed pause, closed the comments on their posts, reduced their time on social media, and all this points to a desire to get away from the online world for a time, reduce their screen time and I consider this a great way of dealing with this issue. Maybe their screen time notifications were giving them them cause for concern too.

I am trying to reduce my screen time without the need for weekly reminders and I think I’m doing OK.

Have a great week ahead and thanks Denyse for another great prompt that got me thinking and sharing!

A timely reminder I saw online today as I was writing this post- how ironic!

Becoming bold in 2021 and taking control of my self care is important to me. A reminder that sometimes it’s the little things we ignore for too long that get us stressed.

Enjoy your week!

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

Copyright © 2023 debs-world.com – All rights reserved

42 Replies to “Why I turned off screen time notifications #lifethisweek”

  1. All my reading is electronic (kindle app on iPad)….so I’m on a lot and always tempted to check notifications when I’m the tiniest bit bored with my story! If I used an ereader device without wifi, I’d be better off!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Deb great post and a timely reminder that our technology can take over our lives. I’ve paused and taken a step back and whilst I’m still on Social Media it is definitely not as much and for long. Turning off notifications are quite liberating. You don’t feel compelled to answer that text immediately, or like that post or read that blog post. You can do it in your own time. Thanks for the reminder and have a lovely week, my friend. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Debbie, Good for you to turn off a feature that is not helping you. I prioritize my health/ exercise activities first thing every day. I don’t use SM and haven’t turned on my screen time notifications. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post to think about. I still have notifications, but there is no sound, so unless I am looking at my phone or tablet, I won’t see them. I honestly think I would spend a lot more time on my devices if I had them turned on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve kon-maried your notifications – if it’s not bringing you joy don’t have it! You may have prompted me to turn mine off now! Truth be told, I don’t really pay attention to my screen time notification but I am making a conscious effort to be on my phone. When it comes to mindless scrolling, I am guilty as charged!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve kon-maried your notifications – if it’s not bringing you joy don’t have it! You may have prompted me to turn mine off now! Truth be told, I don’t really pay attention to my screen time notification but I am making a conscious effort to be on my phone. When it comes to mindless scrolling, I am guilty as charged!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Deb – I’ve never heard of screen time notifications…..probably because I use my laptop a LOT more than my phone and it’s not installed? I know I’m on my laptop a lot – I watch a lot of catch-up TV/youtube etc instead of evening TV these days, and I like all the blogging/FB stuff too.
    Turning off my blog comments saved me from checking in on my blog all the time – and made it less of a focus/pressure in my life. Now it’s just one of my lovely hobbies. I think it comes down to balance, now we’re retired we have more time, so percentage wise we’re probably not online as much as we think – so no guilt from me either. I’m just very grateful for the internet and all the interesting things it brings into my life – and the connections with family and friends. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, you’re right it does come down to balance. I’m glad you have a way to feel less pressure from your blog. Yes to being happy to have the internet as it’s such a good way to connect and learn new things. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.


  8. What a great reminder that at 60, we managed to get through life up to now with little technology and likely spent a LOT of time outdoors and children/teens. I fear what screen time would tell me. I have a couple of games, check the weather, my calendar, emails, blog stuff, etc. With slow internet, I have spent less time these days. But the photographer in me takes that phone everywhere and I take at least one if not 10 pics a day. Eek, screen time kinda sucks but at least we are aware of it and can fall back on the good habits and love for being outdoors, whereas, our children and grandchildren perhaps learned how to get along without tech!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I get it Terri. I can’t believe I didn’t mention using my phone for my photos!! Screen time does suck but we are in control. I understand what you are saying, we are so lucky to have grown up without the technology whereas our kids and grandkids will live in a completely different world. Great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great topic Deb. You’re definitely not the only one as these notifications have been annoying me also. Ive been reducing me SM time so get frustrated if my screen time is up. It does feel like I e had a slap. Then I find myself feeling very smug when the time is down. That smugness annoys me too. I have to admit that I didn’t think to turn them off but I’m about to do so. We’ve had no phone or internet for 5 days so I haven’t linked this week. When I had to go into town, couldn’t resist popping in to say hello

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jen, I’m glad you get what I was saying and feel similar annoyance. It’s a good feeling to just be able to turn off the notifications. Hope your phone/internet has been restored by now, it’s not much fun when it goes on for too long is it?


  10. I’m really not a fan of tech telling me what to do; I think its place is me telling it what to do! Of course, as you said, there are benefits eg children’s screen time. But a few months ago I was talking to someone about those fitness watches that buzz and tell you when to move & I said to them I don’t know how you stand being told off by an inanimate object!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Deb!
    I never turned on my screen time feature and think you really described it well on how heavy feeling it became –

    Also – I know what you mean where some folks have stopped posting or closed off comments – my goodness so many stages we go through – I am pulling back on my blog right now – but have had seasons of what I call “investing”
    In my blog community – and also getting enriched – because I feel like blogs have more depth than other social media sites (I am biased – ha)

    Anyhow – I think screen time can be helpful for adults and children – like for any of the folks who really have no idea about how much time they were spending on line. Awareness is key and yet having Notifications sounds annoying – so good move – and enjoy each blogging season because it does seem to ebb and flow ☀️🧡

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Deb, I found this interesting. I have my screen time enabled but I don’t really look at it anymore. Earlier I looked at it when it popped up each week and I could perhaps feel some guilt but I stopped just counting the hours, and instead I looked at what the screen time told me… for what did I use my screens? It breaks it down to x percent Instagram, x percent browsing etc. And I thought “did I do anything good, relaxing, productive etc while on my screens?”. The number of hours only tells me so much. In reality, when I’m on my screens, I read books and blogs, write blog posts, edit photos, make designs and develop graphic design skills (so work), do music lessons and Zoom music sessions, chat with friends and family… and some of the time I use Twitter and Instagram.

    There are things I want to do less, but I’m working on that. I’m mostly happy with how I use my screens. I’ve stopped the social media scrolling because social media doesn’t usually add anything interesting anymore (except the other day when another student from my singing class followed me on Instagram because she enjoyed my singing so much, that made my day!). So as long as I know I’ve used my screens for good things I’m not bothered by my screen time, but if it causes you guilt, then there’s absolutely no reason for having that app enabled and you did a good thing disabling it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great way of looking at it Susanne, thanks for sharing your thoughts in your comment. I’m mostly happy with how I use my time too and have come to terms with not feeling the guilt.


  13. I do have that function switched on, but I never notice the notifications, Debbie. Why? Because I know when I’ve had enough screen time. My body and mind remind me it’s time to switch off the computer, get up and go and do something else. It never fails me. Also, from 5 pm every day, I leave my phone in another room from where I am. It’s still switched on, but I only respond to anyone calling me (which is very rare, as I still use a landline), not notifications or anything else. I leave them well alone until the following day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights Hugh. I applaud you on your regime and knowing when you’ve had enough screen time. I find I get the urge to get up and mov around if I’ve been sitting too long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Likewise, Debbie. However, I do know people who find the screentime function notification to be very useful. Some set themselves challenges by regulating the time they spend on their devices. Others use it to ensure they go out more when they see how much time they’ve spent in front of a screen. It’s beneficial for those who find it challenging to step away from their screens. I remember those days well when I started blogging and spent whole days doing nothing but reading and commenting on posts. I ended up on the slippery slope of feeling guilty and stressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I had no idea my phone even had a screen time tracker until I checked after reading your post. It does. No way am I turning it on!
    Good for you, turning the notifications off. Who needs more guilt?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. At one point my screen time tracker was turned on (no idea how) and now it’s gone again! LOL. But anything that makes you feel that guilty (principal’s office!) is a “stop”. I think if you start to allow the screen to take over from other things, then it’s an issue. Still spending time outdoors? Still engaging with “real” people? (and yeah, these days that is via screen, too). Still fitting in mind-stimulating activities? Still fitting in daily movement? My POV is use the tool to help, not hurt, your mental health. It’s not “justification”, it’s using it correctly. That said, there are some day’s I’m too much on the screen and not enough out and moving! But, I know that even without a screen time tracker.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great take on the optional prompt. I hate(d) that the iphone would update and leave notifications ON. So, as I know that I need none or very few notifications, I push that button aside. I get two different screen time notifications each Sunday and for a while (during Covid Lockdown in 2020) I know I was on SM a lot…but interestingly the two notifications did not match. I don’t get notifications for anything I don’t set myself. I do want to make sure if family messages me, I see that. The iphone is never far from me either but I see it as a companion of sorts but “I” am in charge. So true about QR code check in & Vaccine check in. My first foray back to bigger shops and I was looking for a top. I actually stood outside some shops and said “Do I really want to bother?” Got the top. It’s for my role in a Christmas Choir…on line…

    Thanks so much for linking up for #LifeThisWeek. Next week I will publish the second half of the Women of Courage Wrap but the optional prompt is “X Marks the Spot”. Great to have your blog as part of the community here this week. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Denyse, it appears from the comments that I’m not alone in having to decide how to deal with notifications and being the one in charge not the other way around. Thanks for having us each week!


  17. I am about to take a break. I have a fiction comp coming up and I just don’t seem to have the time at the moment. I think it’s good to stop to clear your head. I’ve been down on Social media just because busy. There are good and bad to it, but when it is intruding or not working for you, there’s no harm in taking a break (as long as you are still reaching out to people that might be lonely or isolated) Good post

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I do have limits on my phone and I try to take care not to exceed them. I only do email on my main computer, Instragram only on my phone, Facebook (occasionally) on my lap top and WP on all 3 so I guess you can see where I spend my time. I try to be conscious of not doing the cycle thing of always looking to see what’s new. That’s what sends the algorhythim into ad time. I text A LOT with my daughter and that’s likely in any given day where most of my screen time is. I have started reading library books on my laptop or phone as it is easier and safer than going to the library but it adds screen time. I feel, for me, it’s important to be conscious of the amount of time as otherwise it could and will suck big swatches of my day away. I think we all find our own balances but I just know after I semi retired I was sucked into the vortex of always being on my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As to notifications (which in my head is the sound the phone makes when alerting that there is action on an app) I have all but text and wordpress set to silent with no screen notification.. I find that most freeing. Not listening to those little pings and wondering “what’s up”

    Liked by 1 person

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