Malaysians right now are more connected than ever, thanks to the use of social media and smartphones. But, what are good phone habits to practice during this MCO period?
As most Malaysian stay home during the Movement Control Order (MCO), they are more likely to be glued to their smartphone to stay connected with other, get their daily dose of news and for entertainment.
But, we can be guilty of some bad phone habits that may lead us to destruction (figuratively). Some bad phone habits are:
- The spread of fake news everywhere can cause panic and frenzy to the communities
- Stuck to the screen for a great amount of time. When we are stuck at home, we will be tempted to use the phone a lot more.
- Clogging the phone with various media materials that are unnecessary
- Phone screen getting dirtier
Most of these bad habits already ingrained in our everyday life but are likely to intensify during MCO when you rely completely on technology to stay connected and get your task done if you are working from home.
But, worry not, for bad habits can be broken by practicing these 4 safe steps for good phone habits during MCO:
#1. Verify your news sources before sharing
Social media platforms and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook have made connections faster, easier, and free without too much hassle.
But, this convenience also leads to fake messages being easily circulated widely. There are many who do inadvertently spread fake news thinking that they are being helpful for sharing news from someone claiming to have an inside source or working with authority, but spreading fake news can be disastrous as it may lead to inciting panic and fear among the community.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have announced that their increased efforts to curb the spread of fake news, specifically related to Covid-19. MCMC said it is working with the police’s Cyber Crime Taskforce to deal with misinformation regarding Covid-19, which could cause confusion or panic.
The regulatory body advised the public to check the Sebenarnya.my website or app to verify any news on Covid-19. The latest info on Covid-19 can also be found on the Health Ministry’s website or the KKM Putrajaya Twitter account.
Alternatively, users can visit verified news portals and also online tracker website made by Malaysiakini that tracks the total Covid-19 cases on a daily basis in Malaysia.
#2. Reduce your screen time.
Right now, you are practicing social distancing and staying at home and it is likely that you will be tempted to use the phone a lot more.
Maybe you just want to stay updated with the latest news about Covid-19 news or watch some viral videos but all of this could affect your emotional well-being. We rely on the Internet to receive the latest news updates or work but do go offline after a while to avoid feeling overwhelmed by all the information you receive online.
A 2017 ABC News report also said spending too much time on the phone may cause stress and anxiety. Dr. Nancy Cheever, who lead the research on the relationship between smartphone use and anxiety at California State University, said phone-induced anxiety is due to being stuck in a loop.
“The phone puts us in a “persistent state of anxiety” that can only be relieved by checking the phone but this only leads to more worry. If you’re constantly connected, you’re going to feel anxiety. The more people feel anxiety, that can lead to other things like mental health and physical ailments,” she told ABC News.
And if you find yourself spending too much time on an app, why not set an alert to remind you to take a break?
Apps like YouTube, for instance, have this feature. It’s called Remind Me To Take a Break and can be found under General in Settings.
For the Facebook mobile app, click on the menu on the top left corner (it’s the one with three lines), scroll down to Setting & Privacy and select Your Time On Facebook. Here you will be able to see how much time you have been spending on the social media network – tap on Set Daily Time Reminder to be alerted daily.
#3. Spring Clean Your Phone’s Memory
When you receive WhatsApp messages with photos and videos, the media files are automatically saved to your phone by default. And during the MCO period, you are likely to be bombarded by messages.
You can set your WhatsApp’s setting so that you will not automatically download images and media when you receive it. This will avoid any unwanted images and unnecessary load to your phone.
As famed Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo would say: Does it spark joy? Even if it’s digital, it’s better not to hoard.
Taking the time to manage your digital content and backing it up to the Cloud is especially important now in case you damage your phone. Android users can check out Google Photos which will tell you how much space can be saved by deleting photos that have already been backed up to the Cloud. Once you sign in to your Google Account, tap on Menu and then Free Up Space to view how much space you will be saving before you delete the photos.
The same goes for apps. To check when you last used an app, launch the Play Store app, tap on Menu, and then My Apps & Games. Now, select the Installed tab to show all your apps, along with their size, and date you used them last.
#4. Sanitising smartphones
Chances are your phone, a device that you touch and operate daily is likely to get very dirty due to prolonged use.
According to an article by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with faecal matter. Although 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of phones and 82% of hands had bacteria on them, according to the study, conducted in 2011.
The research university, which specialises in public health and tropical medicine, said what’s more worrying is that 16% of hands and 16% of phones were found to harbour E. coli (Escherichia coli). The faecal bacteria, associated with stomach upsets and some serious cases of food poisoning, can survive on hands and surfaces for hours, especially in warmer temperatures away from sunlight.
The bacteria is also easily transferred by touch to door handles, food and, of course, mobile phones, and later be picked up by others.
Other than washing your hands for at least 20 seconds to eliminate all traces of the coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that everyone cleans all “high touch” surfaces such as phones on a daily basis.
It is recommended using wipes with 70% isopropyl alcohol – available in most local pharmacies – or a cloth that has been moistened with soap and water. It advised against putting the phone under running water.
Being glued to your phone during MCO seems inevitable now that your outdoor activities are limited. However, you should try to limit your screen time and spend more time with your loved ones or simply pick up a hobby. This way, you can flatten the infection curve while gaining new skills.
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What other good phone habits do you practice? Share with us in the comments section below.