4 Technology Tips for Good Mental Health

Technology is a powerful tool. Like most things of power, it’s consequences can be good or bad depending on how you use it.

This is especially true in terms of mental health. Emerging technologies have led to great advances in patient care, making it easier than ever to connect patients with mental health providers online. However, the trend towards a smart device in every pocket has also led to a rise in mental health issues. Studies have shown that the misuse of digital devices can cause depression, anxiety, sleep issues, and even digital dependence, especially in children and teens.

The good news is, a few changes in the way you use technology can return it to a force for good in terms of mental health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 4 technology tips for good mental health that will help you and your family.

Use Mental Health Apps

Technology exists to solve problems, and mental health is no exception. As the stigma of mental health issues has declined, treatment has become more popular – but also harder to get. For many patients, long wait times and high out-of-pocket costs can make mental health treatment feel like a juice that isn’t worth the squeeze.

That’s where technology comes in. Thanks to advances in telehealth, you can now book virtual appointments to speak with mental health providers from the convenience of your smart device. You can even access help lines and online crisis centers that connect patients with trained counselors and local resources for support during a struggle.

There are also a variety of apps that help patients maintain their mental health during daily life. From tips and techniques to daily coaching and even live support, these mental health apps can help patients address depression, stress, anxiety, and many other common mental health conditions. There are hundreds to choose from, but some of the most popular include:

  • TalkSpace, an online therapy app that connects you with licensed providers via chat and video calls.
  • Calm, a mindfulness app that coaches you through meditation aimed to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and more.
  • Happify, a feel-good app that uses evidence-based games and exercises to promote positive thinking.

Manage Screen Time

Too much TV will rot your brain. While long hours in front of a screen won’t actually cause brain decay, you shouldn’t discount this old timer’s warning entirely. Studies have shown that large amounts of screen time have a negative effect on mental health, especially in children and teens. In fact, a recent study determined that adolescents who have more than two hours of screen time per day are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression as peers who have less.

The good news is, that same study found that there was no difference in mental well-being between kids who used screens sparingly and those who didn’t use them at all. For parents, that means limiting the amount of time your children spend on screens is an important step in encouraging positive mental health.

Beyond setting boundaries at home, there are several apps you can download to help your family monitor daily screen time. Apple and Android devices even have built-in screen management tools that give the family leader control over kid’s devices:

  • Digital WellBeing, Android’s built-in tool for screen management, gives daily breakdowns of when and where members spend time online. You can then set timers to limit certain apps, create custom “modes” to minimize distractions during certain hours, and even shut down the screens for bedtime.
  • Screen Time, Apple’s built-in tool for screen management, allows you to view and limit app usage, set periods of downtime, and even control communication. Parents can receive daily reports that breakdown screen usage for each device and set passwords to keep parental controls intact.

Monitor Online Activity

Thanks to the digital age, schoolyard bullies are no longer contained to the playground. Nearly 60% of U.S. teens have been the victim of cyberbullying, an online tactic that can lead to severe mental health problems and even suicide. Beyond their peers, young online users must also navigate online predators and inappropriate content, both of which can wreak havoc on developing mental health.

That’s why it’s important to monitor your family’s online activity. Many parents (and even some professionals) see online monitoring as an invasion of privacy, but it’s the #1 way to keep your children safe online. There are many apps and software programs that provide online monitoring, allowing parents to review, limit, and control what their children are doing online. Whichever method you choose, it’s best to be honest with your family and alert your children to its presence.

  • Norton Family, a cloud-based parental control program that has a variety of features to supervise web use, gain insight into online activity, and block harmful content.
  • Net Nanny, a popular software suite that allows you to block and filter online content, get real-time alerts on internet searches, track user location, and more.
  • Qustodio, a free parental control app that provides user-friendly reporting and control of online activity.

Install Antivirus Software

If your family’s online activity results in identity theft, it may be your mental health that suffers. Cyber criminals are on the rise with new and innovative ways to access your system, steal your personal information, and upend your life. To combat cybercrime and save your sanity, encourage your family to use strong account security, know how to spot a scam, and install a solid Antivirus software on all devices.

Best of all, many antivirus programs bundle cybersecurity and parental controls for a boost of online safety. Here are our top 3 picks:

  • Norton 360 Deluxe combines real-time threat protection with solid parental controls. It’s also loaded with extra cybersecurity features like dark web monitoring, password management, a secure VPN, and privacy monitoring to protect your personal information.
  • McAfee Total Protection is an award-winning antivirus software that defends against online threats, ransomware, and viruses both on- and offline.
  • Bitdefender Total Security offers comprehensive protection with minimal impact on your system performance. The premium version works on all devices and includes device optimization tools to customize your controls.

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When it comes to technology, it’s important to practice safety online especially when it comes to protecting your confidential information. Not sure if your personal information is up for grabs online? Request our FREE dark web scan.

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Phillip Long, CEO of BIS - Managed IT Services ProviderPhillip Long – CISSP, CEO of , along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

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