It’s no secret that our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Most people check their phones an average of 58 times per day—and it’s not just millennials this stat applies to.
When television, computer, and phone time are combined, the average American spends 7 hours and 11 minutes looking at a screen every day. Given the prevalence of digital tools and the impossibility of simply not using them as so many workplaces and schools now require screen time, it’s pretty safe to say that digital devices are here to stay.
However you feel about that, it is worth noting that there are things you can do to help improve your relationship with technology. The following will explore a few digital hacks that can make your screen time less invasive, more positive, and more productive.
An extension is a tool you download and apply to your browser. Common browsers include Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, but there are many others. Extensions alter the experience of using those browsers in small and specific ways. There are extensions that block advertisements meaning you won’t need to see ads on YouTube or your favorite blogs once they’re activated.
There are extensions that hide the YouTube comment section so you can’t get caught up in pointless discussions between bots (you know that the most anger-inducing comments are almost always bots, right?), as well as extensions that prevent the “Up Next” section of Youtube which prevent you from getting sucked into hours of mindless watching as the platform only shows you the results of your own searches.
There are extensions that block the Facebook News Feed from showing up, so you can still use Facebook to communicate and see what friends are up to, but you won’t be sucked into hours of seeing what random people you only kind of know are posting about. There’s even an extension called Facebook Container that allows you to prevent Facebook from tracking your behavior on other websites.
Figure Out How To Get Out Of Things
Subscriptions are aggressively taking over marketing approaches, and this means you’re probably subscribed to a lot more things than you use. Often you sign up once to get 10% off or for access to a single thing you want to download, and then you’re stuck getting emails from the company, sometimes as much as once per day.
There is a nifty online tracker that shows you how to cancel all subscriptions. Whatever subscriptions you want out of, you can find step-by-step instructions.
Combat Dynamic Pricing
This point gets a little spooky, but it’s super important. Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy in which digitally-based businesses have flexible prices for their products or services. Based on your search history and other trackable elements of your online behavior, some online stores will change their prices.
The goal of the algorithms that determine the price is to figure out the most that you would pay for something and then present that price. This means that someone else might log onto the same site and be offered a lower price. Yes, this is discrimination, and yes, it’s legal for the time being. To beat dynamic pricing schemes, clear your cookies, shop in incognito mode, and use a VPN. If you take these steps, you will often be offered the less expensive price because the page doesn’t have enough data on you to justify raising the price.
Seriously, Use A VPN
Everyone should be using a VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, and it’s something you enable on your device to alter your IP address. The IP address is what reveals to things tracking you and mining your data where you are. A VPN will disguise your location and can also help keep your data better encrypted.
A VPN can provide greater security when you’re on public Wi-Fi accounts and protect your data from your internet service provider (who probably had you sign something that allows them to track your online behavior and sell this data to advertisers even if you’re using private browsing options).
Applications and government agencies might also be tracking you depending on where you live and what you have downloaded; VPNs can help protect you against this as well. Moreover, a VPN can help you access content that isn’t available in your location, like Netflix options only available to people in other nations. You simply switch your VPN to the country that is allowed and you.
The above tips should have pointed out a few simple digital hacks that can save you a ton of time, money, mental health woes, and security issues. The digital world can be a wonderful place if you know what steps to take to keep your devices from taking over your life. Once you see how easy it is to employ measures that improve your online experience, you’ll be on the lookout for even more new developments that can support a healthy digital life.