The modern world is reliant on technology—this truth is one we all felt at the height of the pandemic. So how is it that we still struggle to use it? Shouldn’t we be accustomed to technology’s quirks because of how often we utilize it? Not necessarily. Technology is always evolving, and new devices bring new rules. Older adults know this reality best, especially those who didn’t grow up with the Internet or smartphones. But young people understand it, too, even though we’ve grown up with electronics. As a student, I can tell you that my peers and I have had to adjust to new technology as it has come throughout our lifetimes. Although our technological intuition typically allows us to adapt to changes fairly easily, we’ve certainly had to learn some lessons the hard way, especially with our use of technology in school. Now, I’m passing along a few of those lessons so that you can avoid some of the frustration that tech tends to bring. Here goes!
1. Keep your passwords somewhere.
I think most of us have been in a situation when we need our password for a website we barely use and just can’t remember it. Then, we have to go through the time-consuming and annoying process of resetting it. I would definitely recommend finding a secure way to store your passwords. VNET suggests using a password manager, such as LastPass or Bitwarden. Check out this blog post for more information on password managers.
2. Don’t just save things to your device.
There have been far too many times when one of my classmates or I have lost a really important document because it wasn’t saved in secure places. Instead of risking having to stay up all night to replicate a lost document, save your work not only to your device, but to a Cloud-based service like OneDrive. The assurance that your document will be available for you when you need it will help you avoid those sleepless cram sessions.
3. Protect your hardware.
How many times have I dropped my phone or tablet? Way, way too many. Good thing I use screen protectors and protective cases! Even though these may not be the cutest electronic accessories, they are really useful. Consider investing in heavier-duty armor for your devices—you’ll be happy when you don’t have to spend a ton of money to replace your phone just because it slipped out of your hands.
4. Use night shift mode on your phone or tablet.
If your phone or tablet has the option to go into night shift mode, use it! This is the perfect tool for when you want to be on your device close to bedtime. (Even though people say you shouldn’t do that…we all know how it goes.) You don’t have to limit the warmer tones of night shift mode to nighttime, though. If your eyes feel tired but you still have to look at the screen for work or school, try turning on night shift. I find that it gives my eyes a little bit of relief when I absolutely can’t turn away from the screen.
5. Step away from the screen.
If you can look away from the screen, do it! Staring at technology all day is exhausting, and it isn’t good for you. Sometimes, you just need a break. Take a walk, talk to someone (in-person, of course), read a book, or just sit outside and relax. You’ll feel so much better once you recharge.
6. Hold yourself accountable for your screen time.
How many of you get that little notification that says, “Your screen time was up 57% from last week,” and just ignore it? I know I’m guilty of that one. As annoying as those notifications are, though, I have realized that I need to pay attention to how much time I’m spending—and wasting—on technology. Yes, sometimes you need to be on your device, but it’s also easy to get roped into social media or video streaming platforms. You start by watching one video, and then, all of a sudden, you’ve spent two hours scrolling through your feed when you could’ve been doing other things that bring you more happiness. So don’t be overly lenient on your screen time. You have to train yourself to keep your tech consumption at healthy levels and make room for the more rewarding things of life. Personally, I’ve found that a week-long social media fast can help me back on track. Take the time to find what works for you.
7. Have a charger and earbuds with you.
This one is pretty simple to explain—you just never know when you’ll need them!
8. Label your charger.
Families, you may be able to prevent some arguments this way. Purchase unique chargers or mark each person’s charger in a special way, either by writing their name on it or using colored tape on it. The next time somebody yells, “My sister took my charger!”, you’ll be able to tell if that actually happened. And the fact that it’s so easy to tell whose charger is whose should discourage your household charger thieves from striking.
9. Keep your devices in a specific place at night.
It’s Monday morning, you’re already five minutes late for work, and you can’t find your phone. But wait—you keep it in the same exact place every night. Phew! You grab it and head out the door, thankful to have avoided a frantic search that only would’ve worsened your Monday mood. You’re welcome in advance.
10. Double check that you actually turned your ringer off.
It’s so embarrassing to have your phone ring in the middle of a meeting or a lecture, but it’s easily avoidable! If you don’t want to endure the humiliation of everyone watching as you fumble to turn your phone to silent, double check your settings before your event begins. It’s a super simple way to avoid the stares of everyone in the room as a telemarketer’s call interrupts the silence.
And that’s it! Ten tips, tried and true, from a student of the technological age. I hope they help you hold onto your sanity as you navigate this ever-changing digital world. If you have questions on any of the services mentioned in this article, feel free to reach out to the VNET team!