Sam Wood joins the #SwitchOffTober movement


Digital fitness expert and founder of 28, Sam Wood is encouraging Australians to build healthier online habits by practising some social media self-care this month as part of SwitchOffTober.

The campaign has been developed by Bupa amidst research that revealed almost 50 per cent of Australians can’t go 4 hours without the internet without feeling uncomfortable, while over 25 per cent of millennials say they can’t go more than 1 hour[1].

Founder of 28 and wellbeing expert Sam Wood said taking time out from being online can be challenging, particularly during COVID-19 when catching up with friends and family has been made more difficult due to lockdown and travel restrictions.

“As someone with a digital business, I know all too well how easy it is to stay glued to screens answering emails, scrolling social media or reading news rather than incorporating balance and taking some time to switch off.

“While I can’t keep off the internet completely, I am pledging to enjoy more quality time with family phone free which will help me enjoy those special moments with my girls, give me more opportunities to connect outside of the online world where I communicate with our 28 community on a daily basis. A small change in behaviour can make a big difference to how you feel,” said Sam.

Research also suggests younger Australians have a complicated relationship with the internet with the majority saying they now rely on technology more than ever, but also want to reduce time spent online[2].

Tony FitzGerald, Virtual Services Manager at Kids Helpline said the internet, 24-hour news coverage and social media at our fingertips can create an illusion that the negativity is right at our doorstep.

“Social media isn’t inherently bad. It’s actually a valid way for people to connect and that’s vital in the current world we live in. It’s how we use it, not necessarily how much, that can create an issue. Being mindful when using social media and following the things that bring you joy while avoiding those that don’t is key to getting the most out of it,” Tony said.

The Bupa Foundation recently provided an additional donation of $100,000 to Kids Helpline, bringing the Foundation’s total commitment to $1.45m over the past year.

Chanel Nesci, Bupa’s Head of Psychological Health and Safety said COVID-19 lifestyle changes have had both positive and negative impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of people.

”Working from home has been welcomed by some who have enjoyed the flexibility, whereas for others this has not been positive for their mental health and work-life boundaries. The same has gone for people’s social lives, where some have found fun ways to connect with friends, such as virtual cooking classes. While for others, texting all day and scrolling mindlessly through social media at night has become common practice.

“That’s why we’re encouraging people to make a single commitment to themselves this month such as turning off social media notifications, so you are not constantly drawn into your phone, or avoiding looking at a screen before bedtime - which is proven to assist in better quality sleep.

“Choose something meaningful to replace this time with, like reading or listening to music and make it a change that is achievable,” said Chanel.

Australians can join Sam Wood in the #SwitchOffTober movement throughout October and discover tips for minimising online use here.

For mental health advice and resources from Kids Helpline visit here.

[1] https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2021/aussies-can-t-last-a-single-day-without-the-internet.html