Cutting back on tech time in 2018

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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - According to recent studies, the average smartphone user in the U.S. spends about five hours a day on their phone. That's more than 20% of the 24 hour day. With the start of the new year, it could be a great chance for the entire family to cut back.

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Michael Prince, Director of the family internet safety company 'Because Family' out of Branson, said people have to be "intentional" with their resolution to cut back on device time, just like any other new year's resolution. Prince said he usually will not look at his phone until he has breakfast with his entire family. He also said he and his wife make it a team effort, one of his keys to success. "On days that you are going to take a break you need support, you need your family and your friends and everyone to help you do that at the same time," said Prince. "It's just one of those habits that's not easy to get into and so having someone who can partner with you to do it makes it easier."

Prince put it simply when we asked why we are all so addicted to the little screens. "It's easy to be entertained now, easier than it ever has been," he said. "You used to have to take the time to either sit down when a show was scheduled to watch it, or even a radio show program forever ago ... everyone's always made time for their entertainment, but now it's just going with you everywhere you go."

Prince also admitted that it can be tough to get the entire family on board with this task of cutting back on device time, especially with teenagers in the family. He said it's worth it in the end. "It's worth the effort to teach them how to make priorities and make good choices and be healthy about the time they spend on their screens."

Other tips from Prince include taking baby steps and using apps to help track the time your family spends glued to devices, so you know where you stand and how you can improve. Some of the apps he mentioned include Moment, Circle, or UnGlue. "It's amazing what change you'll decide you need to make when you actually see the numbers of the time you are spending," Prince said.

He also encouraged people to be forgiving of themselves because we are all in the same boat. "Don't be down on yourself when you realize how much time you spend, you're not the only one, everybody is doing that now," Prince said with a chuckle. "Be okay with the tiny steps and getting going and getting started, if you don't start you'll never make a change."