Healthier uses for your phone

In recent years our cellphone and mobile device usage has increased significantly. In a recent Irish survey, it was found that the average smartphone user picks up their device more than 50 times per day; a third of people check their phone within five minutes of waking up and 70% within the first 30 minutes. So, if you feel like you’re on your phone a lot, you’re not alone!

One challenge with this 21st-century phenomenon is that many of us, when on our phones, fall prey to “doom scrolling”, the act of consuming a large amount of negative news. We flip through our notifications and then tap on our favourite news or social media app and start scrolling in search of a dopamine hit. This self-sabotaging behaviour can negatively affect our mental health if we are not careful with boundaries or healthier device practices.

Some experts recommend creating boundaries, like taking a break, turning off your device and going for a walk in nature, or deleting social media apps from your phone and replacing them with healthier apps. And these are great, but inevitably, we’re going to find ourselves late-night scrolling or playing one more round of Candy Crush. Perhaps the strategy needs a two-fold approach, one for boundaries and one for better uses.

YouTube is a fantastic platform that can either be an incredible time-waster or a free university. If used strategically, it could turn your phone into a virtual teacher. So, when you’re next sitting down to scroll (after taking a healthy break), here are some ideas of YouTube channels to follow that will make you smarter.

CrashCourse (@TheCrashCourse) – 13+ million subscribers

The Crash Course team has produced more than 42 courses on various subjects, including organic chemistry, literature, world history, biology, philosophy, theatre, ecology, and many more! 

Practical Engineering (@HillhouseGrady) – 2+ million subscribers

Practical Engineering is all about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by civil engineer, Grady Hillhouse.

Y Combinator (@ycombinator) – 450k + subscribers

Twice a year, the Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($500k) in a large number of startups. This channel shares the lessons learnt from working intensively with startups for three months to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors.

Skillshare (@skillshare) – 420k+ subscribers

If you’re looking for a random melange of creative inspiration, Skillshare is an online learning community for creatives.

Numberphile (@numberphile) – 4+ million subscribers

This channel is all about making numbers and maths fun, taking on unusual perspectives to help us see how shapes and numbers play an integral part in our daily lives.

Remember – it’s important to have downtime, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you want to spend some time mindlessly scrolling; just make sure it doesn’t become an unhealthy habit that you can’t break.

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