6 Bad Digital Habits and How to Beat Them

Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more

Are smartphones and tech gadgets making us rude?

You’re not alone if you think so. Many beliee that the rise of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other gadgets have created a generation without manners.

But is rudeness really on the rise? And if so, is technology to blame?

For thousands of years, people have decried the decline of manners and common courtesy. In 1843, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury, claimed: “the morals of children are tenfold worse than formerly.” Author Thomas Barnes wrote in 1624 that “Youth were never more sawcie, yay never more savagely sawcie.” And Horace wrote in 20 BCE that “Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn, we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt.”

Rudeness may not be on the rise, but new technology certainly allows people to display their lack of manners in all kinds of new ways.

Worried about your own tech gadget manners? Bad manners are not only annoying, but they could cost you dearly. Maybe you’ve been turned down for a raise or a promotion because your boss hates your bad email habits, or disrespected by your family because they’re annoyed at your smartphone addiction.

When dropping these bad digital habits, it really all comes down to empathy, courtesy, and the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If we’d all treat other people the way we want to be treated, the world would be a much better place, even in a world where gadgets outnumber people.

Ready to reap your karmic rewards? Check out the top six bad habits new technology has brought out in us — and how you can stamp out those habits in your own life.

Bad Digital Habits and how to beat them

Transcript: 6 Bad Digital Habits (And How to Beat Them)

As much as technology and the internet has benefited us, it has also given us some really bad habits. Here are a few common ones, and how you can kick them.

Bad Email Etiquette

Why it’s bad: If you work in an office, bad email etiquette – such as requesting read receipts, or ignoring emails completely – can frustrate your colleagues.

Did you know?

  • Ping-ponging’, or rapid replies to office emails, is the most annoying habit according to a Kingston University study (2011).
  • Emailing out of hours isn’t helpful – try saving the message till the next day.

How to stop it:

  1. Keep email content in sync with the subject line – making it easier to find later.
  2. Get to the point quickly – use separate emails for multiple requests.

Being Glued to Your Phone

Why it’s bad: Excessive phone use can lead to sleep disorders and depression.

Did you know?

  • Over 20% of Americans believe their mobile usage causes marital conflict, according to a TIME study (2012).
  • 17% of users check their phone at a meal regardless of company, according to the same study.

How to stop it:

  1. Turn it off – if that’s too hard, stop using your phone or other gadgets in or before bed.
  2. Set up custom alert profiles – this phone feature vets your notifications to avoid needless distraction.

Obsessive Gaming

Why it’s bad: Like other stimulants, gaming – particularly online gaming – can be highly addictive.

Did you know?

  • 9% of children are addicted to gaming, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics study (2011).
  • 46% of online gamers play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGS), making it the most popular online gaming experience.

How to stop it:

  1. Set time limits – modern consoles have password-protected controls to limit gaming time.
  2. Alternatively, try finding a walkthrough or cheats for the game online. That way, you’ll complete the game sooner.

Social Media

Why it’s bad: If used incorrectly, it can be a huge waste of time. 121 billion minutes were used up on social media sites by Americans in July 2012!

Did you know?

  • 40 minutes a day – the average time Americans spend on Facebook. That’s over 243 hours a year.
  • 500m tweets are sent each day by Twitter’s 271 million active users.

How to stop it:

  1. Delete or deactivate your accounts – or just let them drift off into obscurity by posting less often.
  2. Download StayFocused – this Chrome app cuts off access to time-wasting websites.

Pornography Addiction

Why it’s bad: It’s claimed that watching online porn can lead to issues with secrecy, depression, anxiety and relationship problems.

Did you know?

  • 64-68% of young adult men view porn at least once a week
  • 9% of porn viewers have tried unsuccessfully to stop.

How to stop it:

  1. Consider joining Reddit’s ‘NoFap’ community – an online meeting place for people who abstain from porn.
  2. Alternatively, use internet filters as a deterrent from seeking out pornography.

Failing to Back up Data

Why it’s bad: Your computer and devices aren’t bulletproof. Malware, power surges, hardware failures and natural disasters can all leave you without your precious files.

Did you know?

  • Only 23% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) back up data daily.
  • 50% of SMBs only start backing up data after a catastrophic loss.

How to stop it:

  1. Create physical backups – copy all of your music, videos, documents, and pictures on to a hard disk.
  2. Alternatively, back up all your devices to an online storage ‘cloud’.

Whether you’re a gaming addict or glued to your phone, don’t let bad habits take over your life. Follow these tips and you can end your digital-dependence.


  • Video Gaming Can Lead to Mental Health Problems – aap.org
  • Is Pornography Addictive? – apa.org
  • Americans Now Spend More Time on Facebook Than They Do on Their Pets – businessweek.com
  • Brain Activity in Sex Addiction Mirrors that of Drug Addiction – cam.ac.uk
  • Get Smart! Your Phone Habits are Annoying at Work – cnbc.com
  • Pornography Statistics – covenanteyes.com
  • 5 Tips to Fix Your Annoying Email Etiquette – deliverbliss.com
  • How Much of the Internet Is Actually for Porn – forbes.com
  • The New Rules of Business Etiquette – forbes.com
  • ICT Use and Mental Health in Young Adults: Effects of Computer and Mobile Phone Use on Stress, Sleep Disturbances, and Symptoms of Depression – gupea.ub.gu.se
  • Internet Pornography Statistics – internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com
  • Occupational Psychologist Warns of Health Risks of Email Obsession – kingston.ac.uk
  • How Can I Stop Using My Phone All the Time and Actually Connect With People in the Real World? – lifehacker.com
  • Social Media Report 2012 – nielsen.com
  • Is Online Gaming Bad for You? – news.bbc.co.uk
  • Right to Silence – news.bbc.co.uk
  • Internet Gaming Addiction: Current Perspectives – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Reduce Bad Email Habits – nytimes.com
  • Swear Off Social Media, for Good or Just for Now – nytimes.com
  • Get Back to Work! StayFocusd, YouMail and Other Apps to Keep You on Task – pcworld.com
  • How to Build a Bulletproof Cloud Backup System – pcworld.com
  • Taking a Whack at Porn Addiction – projectknow.com
  • What is Your Worst Data Loss – reddit.com
  • Do I Need to Back Up My Computer – safety.yahoo.com
  • Support RSS Feed PS4 Parental Controls – support.us.playstation.com
  • Set Parental Controls for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live – support.xbox.com
  • Symantec 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey – symantec.com
  • Five Tips on Beating Video Game Addiction – telegraph.co.uk
  • Why Teenagers’ Obsession with Porn is Creating a Generation of 20 Year Old Virgins – telegraph.co.uk
  • What is the Best Way to Back Up Data – theguardian.com
  • How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook – time.com
  • Your Wireless Life: Results of TIME’s Mobility Poll – time.com
  • About: Company – twitter.com

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

Leave a Reply