Technology

How to Be a More Mindful Internet User

A reliable internet connection has made it to the top of the list of essential utilities for modern life. Phones, computers, televisions, and even appliances tap into the power of the internet to help people conduct daily tasks.

But technology can become all-consuming if it’s not used safely and mindfully. Consider your typical habits and examine whether you should make positive moves toward more mindful internet usage.

Power Your Devices With Secure Connections at Home

Thanks to our love of devices, we’ve created an Internet of things. The IoT includes smart speakers, connected coffee makers, and even stoves. These connected devices help make our lives easier, but they also present more attack surfaces for bad Internet actors. That makes ensuring a secure Wi-Fi connection vitally important.

Since they provide access points to your phone and computer, innocent-looking IoT devices should be treated with government-level security. Connect your home to a Wi-Fi backbone that provides a balance between security and power to keep up with demand.

With more tech drawing on your Wi-Fi bandwidth, you’ll need to account for how much each device uses. A robust Wi-Fi backbone will keep tabs on devices’ security settings and bandwidth requirements so your connected tech will operate smoothly and safely.

Use Apps to Streamline Your Usage

Mindless web browsing can be a total time suck, depleting open calendar blocks that you fantasize about using for something else. Before you know it, you’ve been online for over an hour, and work or personal demands require your attention. Reclaim your time by using apps for core tasks and essentials.

Review your most visited sites and make a list denoting key categories. Personal finance, health, and news are among the most common top hits for traditional web browsers. Browse the app store to see whether the sites you favor offer apps and download them. Categorize them logically to streamline your check-ins. Update the default sounds and haptics settings to only push alerts for critical updates like low balances or breaking news.

Create Habits That Don’t Rely on Tech

Researchers have proven that starting your day with a phone pickup is a productivity killer. The action starts your day with distraction, giving your brain a hit of dopamine that it’ll crave until you cave in. The tech equivalent of sugar, the internet boasts all the things that make our brains happy — light, color, and sound. Instead, revamp your routines and habits to support your goals instead of your bandwidth limit.

Use a traditional alarm clock to ensure you don’t go straight from turning off your phone’s alarm to browsing social media. Enjoy exercise outdoors when you can or complete your workout routine from memory instead of by looking at a screen. Giving your eyes and ears a break from tech can help you be more present in your activity.

Mix up your relaxation time with books, creative projects, and spending tech-free time with people you enjoy. When your habits don’t depend on technology, you can create a more well-rounded relationship with connected devices.

Prioritize Secure External Connections and Browsing Choices

You can’t go into a coffee shop without scanning the signage for the Wi-Fi password. But connecting to just any internet source could be more painful than missing out on the latest social media posts.

Insecure connections can put your devices at risk, making them more vulnerable to cyberthreats. So avoid connecting to networks you aren’t confident in and pivot toward other means of entertainment until you’re able to. While you can’t control the security of external networks, you can manage how and when you connect.

Look for the lock symbol beside the URL in your browser to confirm that the site you’re using is secure. Visit reliable search engines to start your research, carefully considering the legitimacy of search results. If you find yourself on a site that seems off, avoid clicking pop-ups or inputting personal information.

Keep your device up to date on its security software to ward off malware and other attacks. Be mindful of your habits online, especially with cloud-based financial accounts where cyberthreats can easily become nightmares.

Remember That the Internet Is a Tool

The internet was designed to connect people and ideas, and its existence has improved so much of the human experience. Remember that the internet is a tool to help support you in the things you want or need to do. Be respectful of your time as you browse the internet to review a recipe, research vacations, and learn something new. Stay focused so you can return to the task at hand and complete it with your full attention.

Use your connected devices to support your life, being mindful to avoid them overtaking your time. Review your weekly usage reports on your phone to identify spikes in categories or apps that surpass what’s reasonable. Identify what reasonable means to you, based on how and when you use the internet.

If additional support would help, add the Mindful Internet Use Chrome extension to help truncate your browsing habits. Apps like Freedom and Cold Turkey serve much the same purpose. With a mindful approach to internet use, you can gain the benefits of a connected life while being present when it counts.

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