Technology can equally help or hinder depending on how you use it. But now gadgets have become such an integral part of modern life it's all too easy to fall into bad tech habits – some of which you might not even be aware of.
Have you ever nearly walked into someone while nose-deep in your smartphone, or found yourself lying awake at 2am on a weekday playing inane mobile games? If so, you may need to assess whether you've developed an unhealthy relationship with technology.
The problem arises when these habits start to have a negative impact on your life, or simply start to bug those around you. Below, we've detailed five bad tech habits that you need to kick ASAP.
Using your smartphone before bed
Studies have shown that using your smartphone before going to bed disturbs your body's ability to fall asleep. Not only do phones and their buzzing notifications act as a stimuli for staying awake but they also give off blue light, which prevents your body from producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Try to stop using your phone an hour or so before turning in for the night and resist the temptation to check emails and notifications when you should be resting. Make use of your phone's Do Not Disturb setting to stop notifications waking you up in the night and download a blue light filter app to stop your gadgets messing with your natural sleep cycles.
If you have an iPhone or iPad switch on Night Shift (Settings -> Display -> Night Shift) to reduce blue light before bedtime.
Checking work emails at home
It's fine to use your personal phone or laptop to check work emails, provided you're not doing this during free time or have them pushed automatically to you at all times of night.
Unless you're expecting something really, really important to land in your inbox over the weekend, there's absolutely no need for you to check in with work until Monday. It's all too easy to forget this, but enjoy that precious free time and step away from the phone!
Or...try working in France, where a new law passed on 1 January 2017 requires companies of 50 employees or more to give their staff the right to disconnect from work communications outside of office hours.
Taking photos with a tablet
There's absolutely no good reason why you should use a tablet to take photos. Not only are cameras on tablets rubbish compared to the one on your smartphone, they also make you look ridiculous. Plus, you're also blocking the view of people around you, which is especially annoying if you're at a gig or concert. Bottom line: Don't do it.
Using unprotected public Wi-Fi
We've said before that you should make use of free public Wi-Fi whenever possible, however you should only do so if the connection is secure. Safe public networks will be provided by a well-known operator and will be secured with WEP or WPA2 encryption. Using an unsecured, unfamiliar network puts you at risk of having you information and browsing activity exposed to hackers. For added security, use a VPN to encrypt and anonymise your connection.
Not using headphones
It doesn't matter how great you think your music taste is – we don't want to hear it. Listening to tunes on your phone through the loudspeaker is not only a modern-day faux pas, but considered a near cardinal sin among early morning commuters. The same goes for playing games or replying to a particularly intense WhatsApp group chat with rampant keyboard clicks – either use headphones or put it on mute. Don't make us ask you again.
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