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Wherever we are, the virtual world is close by. With smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wireless Internet, we’re able to stay plugged in all the time. That’s why the idea of a digital detox has become increasingly popular.
Making time and space for a regular technology detox is important for people of all ages. However, digital detoxing may be especially important for children and teens. That’s because their brains are still developing. Therefore, they are more susceptible to the negative effects of technology on the body and nervous system.
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices connected to the Internet, such as smartphones and computers. Moreover, a digital detox is an opportunity to reduce stress and focus more on interaction with others. And it can also help prevent addiction to tech devices.
In addition, a digital detox provides time to experience nature, get physical exercise, and practice mindfulness. Unplugging on a regular basis helps us maintain a healthy balance between IRL (“in real life”) activities and the digital world.
Ultimately, a digital detox is a way to disconnect to reconnect.
Why Do a Digital Detox?
No one denies that digital devices have their upsides. They can enhance efficiency, convenience, and communication. However, all the time we spend online means we have less time to spend doing real-world activities we enjoy. Moreover, we have less time to spend with the people we love. As a result, our relationships can suffer.
Furthermore, an increasing body of research is examining how online activity and digital media consumption affect both mental and physical health. Hence, scientists have discovered some very real dangers associated with ongoing, excessive technology use. Here’s a look at the recent research.
Tech Addiction Is Linked to Depression and Anxiety
A large body of research is validating this correlation. For example, a study of 38 teenagers tracked changes in the brain associated with smartphone addiction. Researchers determined the teens’ addiction levels and mental health via questionnaires. Consequently, they found that the addicted teens had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsive behavior.
Moreover, teens spend much of their time online using social media. And research shows that frequent use of social media goes hand in hand with increased depression. For example, a study of 82 young adults found that the more they used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined. That’s because social networking encourages teens to compare themselves to others. Hence, technology has a negative impact on their self-esteem.
Gaming Disorder Is Now a Mental Health Condition
The World Health Organization (WHO) this year classified gaming disorder as a mental health condition. Thus, it included in the 11th edition of WHO’s International Classification of Diseases Manual.
Gaming disorder is similar to other addictions, such as a gambling addiction or substance abuse. According to the American Psychiatric Association, certain pathways in the brains of video gamers react in the same way that a drug addict’s brain reacts to a particular substance. Therefore, this disorder is characterized by the inability to control an obsession with video gaming.
The WHO’s decision points to the addictive nature of digital media in general and video games in particular. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of digital detoxing as a way to avoid addiction. Disconnecting from the constant stimuli provided by the digital world gives the nervous system a chance to “power down” and rebalance.
The ADHD-Technology Link
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teens who used digital media frequently were more than twice as likely to develop symptoms of ADHD. At the beginning of the study, the teens showed no symptoms of ADHD. However, by the end of the two years, teens who used digital media frequently were far more likely to have symptoms of the disorder.
Impulsivity is one of the primary symptoms of ADHD. And impulse control is managed by the brain’s frontal cortex. Brain-imaging research has shown that screen time, such as video games and social media, affect the frontal cortex in the same way that cocaine does. Hence, screen time catalyzes compulsive and erratic behaviors. That’s a good reason to do a digital detox.
More Digital Media = Less Exercise and Less Time Outdoors
Along with the negative effects of digital media itself, excessive tech use also results in sedentary behavior. We end up sitting for long periods of time in front of a screen or looking at a smartphone. That’s why teens who spend hours a day on smartphones, tablets, or computers may be more likely to become obese, according to a Harvard study.
In addition, screen time replaces other, healthier activities. Hence, there are fewer hours in the day for exercise, yoga and meditation, or walking in nature, for example. Moreover, consuming digital media that other people have created keeps us from embarking on our own creative expression. That’s a big downside for children and teens, because exercising creativity is an important part of identity formation and brain development.
Strategies for Doing a Digital Detox
Clearly, limiting screen time is essential to protect our health and well-being. And parents have the responsibility of protecting their children and teens from digital overload. Therefore, parents need to set clear boundaries around technology use and subsequently enforce them with appropriate consequences.
While adults may feel an internal motivation for doing a digital detox, kids are rarely inspired to unplug. They want to stay connected to friends, entertainment, and distraction on their screens. Therefore, it might take some effort and strategy to help kids detox from digital media. Here are some approaches for structuring more unplugged time.
Take a digital detox retreat.
Digital detox retreats can be effective for families. Hence, the whole family takes a trip to a new and exciting place. And everyone commits to staying unplugged all or most of the time. It might be for a day, a few days, a week, or more.
Phones keep us one step away from a direct experience of what’s going on around us. As a result, unplugging means more opportunities to spend time together. In addition, we’re more likely to engage directly with our environment.
Start small and build up gradually.
A digital detox doesn’t have to be a full-on retreat. Another option is to do mini digital detoxing throughout the day. Start on the first day by not looking at your phone for 15 minutes. The next day, unplug for 30 minutes, or take several 15-minute breaks. Work up to a half day or full day every week when you stay away from digital media and social platforms.
Designate regular unplugged times for everyone during the day.
This is particularly important during meals. That’s because busy family schedules often mean that dinner is the only time during the day when the family sits down together. Without the distraction of screens, the family communication improves.
Unplugging before bed is also essential, as it gives the nervous system time to wind down from the ongoing stimuli of screens.
Maintain certain areas of the house where screens are off limits.
As well as the dining room, this might include the kitchen. Moreover, families can designate a room devoted to reading and board games, with no TV. Plus, if technology is off-limits outside, kids are more likely to get involved in outdoor play.
Moreover, kids don’t need computers in their bedrooms. If they are using one for homework or any other screen activities they’re permitted, they can use a family computer. This computer stays in a location where parents are able to monitor what kids are doing online and for how long.
Plan technology-free family activities.
For younger kids, visit a hands-on children’s museum or take a parent-child circus or art class. Teens might enjoy ropes courses, rafting, snowboarding, or a dance class. Or just get everyone out for a hike or a swim.
Along with getting kids away from their phones, physical exercise and nature immersion both have powerful mental and physical heath benefits. In one study in Mind, 95 percent of those interviewed said their mood improved after putting down their phones to spend time outside. They shifted from feeling depressed and stressed to more calm and balanced.
Explain to kids how screen time and digital media affect their health and their brain.
Don’t underestimate their ability to process the pros and cons. Knowledge alone might not impact their behavior, as the pull of technology is strong. But they’ll understand why digital detox is so important. Rather than a punishment, it is a protection and prevention strategy.
Teach children and teens healthy ways to self-soothe.
Too often, kids turn to the distraction of screens when they’re feeling unhappy or uncomfortable. A digital detox can help them cultivate healthier self-care routines and ways to calm down. For example, a simple meditation or breathing practice, drawing or journaling about what they’re feeling, or an offline hobby that plays to their strengths.
In summary, everyone needs to find their own way to create a digital detox. And parents need to help kids and teens do the same. As a result, a habit of regularly unplugging will reap a multitude of benefits.
Images courtesy of unsplash
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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 14;8(8):e69841.
J Pediatr. 2017 Mar;182:144–149.
Как часто мы слышим, что современный мир нельзя представить без электронных и компьютерных достижений 21 века. В нашем окружении сложно найти человека, которому пришлось бы объяснять значение слова «гаджеты». Это нас называют «поколением Google», «информационным обществом» и «гаджетоманами». Стоит ли гордится? Ответ, думаю, каждый даст самостоятельно и в меру своей любви к техническому и информационному прогрессу.
С 2015 года преподаватели кафедры теории и практики английского языка переводческого факультета проводят конкурс эссе среди студентов 3 курса под общим названием «Digital Detox». Скажете, очередной конкурс эссе, что в этом такого? Позвольте, господа! Минуту терпения. Давайте обратимся, так сказать, к первоисточнику, а именно инициатора и организатору конкурса, за разъяснениями, что же такое «День без гаджетов на переводческом».
Метлушко Ирина Владимировна, доцент кафедры теории и практики английского языка, кандидат филологических наук: «В программу учебной дисциплины «Практика иноязычного общения» для студентов 3 курса переводческого факультета входит интересная тема «Технологические достижения XX века и иx влияние на развитие общества». Как Вы понимаете, обсудить в рамках данной темы есть что.
В 2015 году у меня возникла идея не просто обсудить тему технологических новинок 21 века и их роль в нашей жизни, но и проверить, насколько сильно мы от них зависим в реальности. Так, собственно, и родилась идея предварительного проведения эксперимента, а затем написания эссе. Суть эксперимента «Digital detox» сводится к полному отказу от всех электронных устройств (компьютер, телефон, телевизор и т.д.) как минимум на 24 часа. Справедливости ради, скажу, что за 2 года я не видела ни одного участника, кто бы добровольно отключил все устройства на более длительный промежуток времени. У большинства студентов другая задача – продержаться хотя бы 24 часа. Предварительно мы со студентами подробно обсуждаем правила проведения эксперимента, оговариваем тонкости, строим планы на день. Кто-то из ребят назвал такой день «викторианским», то ли из-за мрачности, которой ожидал в тот момент от эксперимента, то ли из-за «технической отсталости» того времени. Так или иначе, студент каждой группы решает самостоятельно, когда у него настанет «викторианский день».
В 2015 году мы совершили туристическую поездку в г. Гродно с одной из групп факультета, которая полным составом запланировала «Digital detox» на воскресение.
Если совсем честно, то перед отправлением в дорогу, я опасалась того, что сама не выдержу и хотя бы раз проверю почту или аккаунт в социальных сетях. Однако сутки, которые мы провели со студентами 310 группы, были столь ярким и наполненным живыми эмоциями, что я не вспоминала о чудесах техники. Ребята по-разному пережили день без гаджетов. Кто-то в поезде под одеялом проверял новости в социальных сетях, кто-то с трепетом смотрел на телефоны в руках прохожих. Но, так или иначе, этот день запомнился нам всем. Стоит сказать, что студенты очень искренне делились «наболевшим» в своих эссе. Понимая, что живой и во многом непредсказуемый опыт сложно уложить в рамки классического эссе, было принято решение, о возможном отклонении от стандартной формы изложения материала.
В 2016 году мы предложили поучаствовать в эксперименте уже значительно большему количеству студентов третьего курса. Удивительно было то, что несколько студентов сразу отказывались участвовать, утверждая, что не смогут прожить без гаджетов не то что день, но даже час. И дело было не только в том, что значительная часть информации, домашних заданий, тренировочных тестов и словарей сейчас в электронном виде. Некоторые признавались в реальной зависимости от гаджетов. Те же, кто решился на эксперимент, во-первых, узнали много нового о себе лично – это одна из наиболее часто встречающихся строчек в эссе; во-вторых, смогли честно ответить на вопрос – зависим ли я от гаджетов?
Чтоб Вы реально могли прочувствовать, как проходил этот эксперимент, предлагаем Вам одно из лучших эссе 2016 г. на тему «День без гаджетов. Как это было»».
Ваагн Геворкян, студент 305 группы
Oh boy, that was a truly insane experience. Switching off from the entire planet sounds like a suicide mission. Nowadays the feeling of disconnection is terrifying and practically everyone tries to avoid such a feeling. We all have these gadgets and devices, such appliances (which are so loved for their multitasking) as desktop computers, laptops, cell phones, smartphones, tablets which are pretty flat and portable, various music players etc. All these gadgets mostly serve us as means of entertainment, keeping-in-touch with the world around and socialization. Through our smartphones we can access web-pages and check our social-media accounts and feeds, play different games, work and save a lot of time, for all these gadgets are pretty much labour-saving. We pile up the most cutting-age of them allowing the real-time presence 24/7. Everything is accessible at the tap of a screen. We use them extensively and they become the fabric of our lives. But picture this: what if we over-rely on the Computer Age? What if from a different perspective we neglect our lives? What if everything we invent has got out of hand?
Yep, this is an issue of the modern life. This is the cost we pay for comfort. We have become addicts! Yes, as simple as that! We trap our souls in phablets and smartphones, causing complete omnishambles in our lives on a daily basis! We self-soothe, that everything is under control, not taking into account those, who don’t even care about this situation. But what really happening is a complete consumption of our time, inability to maintain the work and life balance, loosing track of time, loosing ourselves online while “wilfing”, various abuses and health issues and… the list is constantly being updated. It all sounds shocking, doesn’t it?
But is there anything we can do but complaining and nagging? Can we somehow loosen the bonds of this digital monstrosity? Actually there is a way out, but not the easiest one.
So, the essence of the Digital Detox challenge is in staying offline for at least 24 hours without using ANY sort of gadgets. The truth is that the difficulty of the challenge depends on the level of your addiction. And this switching off «torture» reveals your secret addictions.
Personally I tried to unplug. I didn’t know, whether I was ready to face this challenge or not, but I was convinced, that it would be nothing but a piece of cake. Oh man, at that moment I didn’t know how wrong I was. I said goodbye to all my gadgets, including landline telephone, I warned my family and friends about the challenge and started a new life, a gadget-free life only for 24 hours.
And here I am to bring about the results of my attempt.
7:00 a.m. – I almost missed the wakeup phase, because my smartphone didn’t buzz that morning. I jumped out of the bed and made haste to prepare for the new day. I was so confused, because I couldn’t even check the time, for not having wrist watches. No breakfast – just straight sprint to MSLU.
8:15 a.m. – Somehow I managed to reach my “studydrome” (still without knowing the correct time). And yep, I was late.
9:35 a.m. – Break, 10 minutes. No access to the telephone, I feel annoyed already, and this is only the beginning. I want to use at least my phablet. Actually, it is pretty «weak» (it’s overall performance is cranky, the battery runs only for 20 or 30 minutes), but I use it most of the times for clockwatching and screening lectures. And maybe sometimes for watching some videos and listening to music. Well, not a big deal. I have to forget even about it.
2:20 p.m. – When I was done with my studies, I headed to my Mom’s working place. While walking there I realized that I had not been using my smartphone for 8 hours! “Wow”, but I still have a long way to go.
4:00 p.m. – Finally I reached my mom’s working place. But there I had to show the required entrance-cards. I had none. And at that moment I realized, that I couldn’t contact my Mom. So, knowing that I’m dead already, I violated the law and jumped over the barrier. The security immediately halted me and started the interrogation. So yep, no phones – no connection – facing troubles (proved)!
6:00 p.m. – Home, I’m finally home. And now, the real challenge is on. That was so bizarre not to plug in the Wi-Fi router, not to turn on the computer, not to respond to any calls and messages. Frankly speaking, that was charming. I ate my supper and was ready to do my homework, but all the necessary books were digital… So yes, I had to find other ways to spend my time. And I successfully did it! I read books, played the piano, drew some sketches. And it was so quiet at home. Nothing was bothering me. Such a pleasant feeling, to be honest.
10:00 p.m. – I turned to sleep much earlier than usual. The day was rough and I was happy, that I made it through. I slept like a log and woke up without any problem at 5 a.m.
I wished to continue this experiment, but I was FOMO enough to stop after 24 hours. An immediate return caused more troubles than the previous switching off. Tons and tons of information have just invaded my brain and I felt overwhelmed. How come that I had skipped so many things?! But 2 hours later I felt OK, as I was online, catching up with the rest of the digital world again.
I believe, that our biggest trouble is that we adapt too quickly to the reality we face. And the adaptation reveals the two sides of the same coin. We get used to gadgets very fast, and at the same time we readapt back to normal gadget-free life, when their impact decreases. But we are too surrounded and captured by them.
Unfortunately, there is no escape. Progress is inevitable. The only thing we can do is to manage our feelings and attain balance in our lives, find the golden middle.
Technology revolves around us; our lives have improved considerably with technology but, relying on them too much can have harmful effects. A research has shown that people can be addicted to these devices very much like substance abuse and with this dependence; efficiency, joy and creativity are greatly reduced (Wallace, 2014). A process called digital detox allows people to interact socially in the physical world by refraining from these electronic devices momentarily, therefore fighting the symptoms of burnouts, loss of concentrations and unending distraction (Kotenko, 2013).
Disconnecting from technology increases attention span, reduces addiction, lowers social isolation by building healthier relationships and reinforces better communication. With digital detoxification the social, emotional and cognitive benefits are immense.
It is known that distraction affects a person’s performance. The brain can process information at a time, with information overload it can strain the mind in attempts to solving an ongoing business (Breene, 2015). As humans, we are in constant connection to the wired devices which invariably can take a price in a person’s personal and professional well-being (Rosen & Samuel, 2015). According to Frank Furedi, “sadly ours is an Age of Distraction” para 1 page 1 (Furedi, 2015) individuals attention span has been weakened due to the continuous buzzing of various gadgets on a person’s desks, bags and pockets. People tend to make considerable amount of errors while multitasking, as because the brain gets overwhelmed with information (Seaward, 2015). In the article by Leah Eichler, companies like Volkswagen shut off employee’s emails for a duration of 30 minutes before commencing onto their next shift (Eichler, 2012).
Technology has indeed made human lives easier by making information accessible to everyone and connecting different people around the globe. However, spending excessive time with various forms of gadgets can lead to digital addiction, which is an uncontrollable need or urge to check updates and profiles of a social network. A publication by the American Psychiatric Association in the statistical Manual of Mental Disorder has shown that people who are young are more susceptible to digital addiction (Wallace, 2014). As a result; their academic performances, mental and physical wellbeing of these youths are greatly hindered. Digital addiction develops when a person is being depressed, stressed and isolated, they tend to find these gadgets a form of escape and comfort (Wallace, 2014). A person can experience unpleasant thoughts, sleep deprivation and change in behavior while not being in touch with these social gadgets temporarily (Wallace, 2014). For these addicts applying Internet blocking software’s, setting up whole day twitter summary and reading them later can greatly reduce the addiction (Lisa, 2014).
Proper human interaction is peeled off when an individual is clinging on to their digital gadgets. Today people can have full conversations through the computer screen while stuttering in person. Our ideas and thoughts have been put on to the new podium with the arrival of technology, but consequently it has led to an end to the beautiful face to face interaction. Working places are made flexible with the arrival of technology, but it has a potential to make a working place socially isolating thereby causing stress. In a study it was shown that young adults, who are engaged constantly in social medias such as Instagram’s, Facebook and Snapchat are highly associated with feelings of social isolation. Gina Vega and Louis Brennan (2000), discussed how machines can make a person defenseless and how external stimulation have exerted a controlling effect upon people, they write People choose to lose their “self’” because they cannot bear to be alone and must bond with others and identify with them in some way. Expressed in the language of the electronics industry, the more “connected” you are, the more alone you become. Constant bombardment from media and other sources results in human disconnection. (Para 11 page 471) (Gina and Louis, 2000).
According to the American Institute of Sleep, there is an increase in the rate of sleep deprivation in people whose bedrooms are being invaded with gadgets (Seaward, 2015). A hormone known as Melatonin which is sleep hormone is not produced properly when the quality of a person’s sleep is compromised. Carrying devices in the bedroom disrupts sleep hygiene. Technology can make pleasant wonders, but bedrooms need to be zone free-gadgets (Seaward, 2015).
With the progress of digital age, human history has made an astonishing place to live; by connecting people globally more than ever. However, there are some undesirable psychological and social impact upon staring onto a screen more than the desired need. Healthy relationships should be formed with the use of these digital devices to prevent noxious effect from these gadgets. Setting a positive social attitude and building awareness around these tools will help the future generation in combatting the side effects of digital intoxication (Kotenko, 2013).
A digital detox refers to a period of time when a person refrains from using tech devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets, and social media sites. “Detoxing” from digital devices is often seen as a way to focus on real-life social interactions without distractions. By forgoing digital devices, at least temporarily, people can let go of the stress that stems from constant connectivity.
Before you decide if it is right for you, consider some of the potential benefits and methods of doing a digital detox.
Reasons for a Digital Detox
For many people, being connected and immersed in the digital world is just a part of everyday life. According to research from the Nielsen Company, the average U.S. adult spends around 11 hours each day listening to, watching, reading, or interacting with media.
There are many reasons why you might want to give up your mobile phone and other devices for a brief time. You might want to enjoy time to yourself without the interference that your phone and other devices create. In other cases, you might feel like your device use has become excessive and is adding too much stress to your life.
In some situations, you might even feel like you are addicted to your devices. While technology addiction is not formally recognized as a disorder in the DSM-5, many experts believe that tech and device overuse represents a very real behavioral addiction that can lead to physical, psychological, and social problems.
In a poll conducted by the organization Common Sense Media, 50% of teens reported that they felt that they were addicted to their mobile devices. A whopping 78% of the teen respondents said that they check their digital devices hourly.
What the Research Says
Technology Can be Stressful
While people often feel that they can’t imagine life without their tech devices, research and surveys have found that technology use can also contribute to stress.
In the American Psychological Associations’ annual Stress in America survey, a fifth of U.S. adults (around 18%) cited technology use as a significant source of stress in their life. For many, it is the ever-present digital connection and constant need to keep checking emails, texts, and social media that accounted for the majority of this tech stress.
One study conducted by researchers in Sweden found that heavy technology use among young adults was linked to sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels.
Digital Devices Can Disrupt Sleep
Evidence also suggests that heavy device use, particularly prior to bedtime, can interfere with sleep quality and quantity. One study found that children who use digital devices at bedtime had significantly worse and less sleep. The study also found a connection between nighttime tech use and increased body mass index.
Researchers have also found that in-bed electronic social media use has adverse effects on sleep and mood. The study found that 70% of participants checked social media on their phones while in bed, with 15% spending an hour or more on social media while in bed. The results found that using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.
Heavy Device Use May Be Linked to Mental Health Concerns
A study published in the journal Child Development found that heavy daily technology use was associated with an increased risk for mental health problems among adolescents. More time spent using digital technologies was linked to increased symptoms of ADHD and conduct disorder, as well as worse self-regulation.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently published the first experimental research linking the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to decreased well-being. The results revealed that limiting social media use decreased symptoms of depression and loneliness.
Constant Connectivity Affects Work/Life Balance
That feeling of always being connected can make it difficult to create boundaries between your home life and work life. Even when you are at home or on vacation, it can be hard to resist the temptation to check your email, respond to a text from a colleague, or check in on your social media accounts.
In a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, researchers found that technology use played a role in determining an individual’s work-life balance. The study suggested that the use of internet and mobile technologies influenced overall job satisfaction, job stress, and feelings of overwork.
Doing a digital detox may help you establish a healthier, less stressful work-life balance.
Social Comparison Makes It Hard to Be Content
If you spend time on social media, you have probably found yourself comparing your own life to your friends, family, total strangers, and celebs. You might find yourself thinking that everyone else seems to be leading a fuller, richer, or more exciting life based on the tiny, curated glimpse you see on their Instagram or Facebook posts.
As the saying goes, comparison really can be the thief of joy. Detoxing from your social connections can be a good way to focus on what’s important in your own life without comparing yourself to others.
Digital Connectivity Can Make You Feel Like You’re Missing Out
Fear of missing out, known as FOMO, is the fear that you are missing the experiences that everyone else is having. Constant connectivity can feed this fear. Every time you see a curated image or post about someone else’s life, it can leave you feeling as if your life is less exciting than theirs. You might find yourself overcommitting to social events out of the fear that you’ll be left behind.
FOMO can also keep you constantly checking your device out of fear that you are going to miss an important text, DM, or post.
Doing a digital detox is one way to set limits and reduce your fear of missing out. The key is to do it in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling cut off from what’s happening in your digital world.
Signs You Might Need a Digital Detox
- You feel anxious or stressed out if you can’t find your phone
- You feel compelled to check your phone every few minutes
- You feel depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media
- You are preoccupied with the like, comment, or reshare counts on your social posts
- You’re afraid that you’ll miss something if you don’t keep checking your device
- You often find yourself staying up late or getting up early to play on your phone
- You have trouble concentrating on one thing without having to check your phone
How to Do a Digital Detox
Some might suggest that a true digital detox would involve predefined abstinence from any and all digital devices and social media connections, but it is important to make your device usage work for your own life and demands.
Detaching from your devices can benefit your mental well-being, but doing a digital detox does not have to involve a complete separation from your phone and other tech connections. The process is often more about setting boundaries and making sure that you are using your devices in a way that benefit, rather than harm, your emotional and physical health.
If you can do a complete digital detox for a certain amount of time, it might be something you want to try. Being completely disconnected can feel liberating and refreshing for some people. For a lot of people, completely forgoing all forms of digital communication might not be possible, particularly if you really do rely on staying connected for work, school, or other obligations.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the benefits of a digital detox; the key is to make disconnecting something that works for your schedule and your life.
If you need your devices during the day for your job, try doing a mini-detox at the end of the workday. Pick a time when you want to turn off your devices, and then focus on spending an evening completely free of things like social media, texting, online videos, and other electronic distractions.
While it isn’t always possible or even preferable to completely disconnect, setting limits on when these digital connections are allowed to intrude on your time can be good for your mental well-being.
For example, you might want to use your phone to play your Spotify or Apple Music playlist while you are working out, but setting it to airplane mode will make sure that you aren’t distracted by phone calls, texts, other messages, or app notifications during your workout.
Setting boundaries on the type and timing of connections you’ll attend to helps ensure that you can enjoy real-world activities completely free of digital diversions.
Other times when you might want to limit your digital device usage include:
- When you are eating meals, particularly when dining with other people
- When you are waking up or going to bed
- When you are working on a project or hobby
- When you are spending time with friends or family
- Before you go to sleep each night
Research suggests that limiting your social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day can significantly improve well-being, decreasing symptoms of loneliness and depression.
Restricting your mobile device usage immediately before you go to sleep may also be helpful. One review of the research found that using media devices was linked to poor sleep quality, inadequate sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Skip laying in bed playing on your phone and instead try reading a book or magazine for a few minutes before you go to sleep.
Another way to start your digital detox is to turn off push notifications on your phone. Many social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and news websites send alerts every single time you get a message, mention, or new post.
Rather than checking certain apps or websites every time a new story or post hits, set aside a specific time each day when you’ll check your messages or mentions. Then set aside a certain amount of time, around 20 or 30 minutes, to devote to catching up and sending responses.
You might find that it’s helpful to leave your phone behind for at least a brief time. Studies have found that the mere presence of a mobile device, even if you aren’t actively using it, lowers empathy levels and decreased conversation quality when interacting with other people, a phenomenon researchers have dubbed ‘the iPhone effect.’
So the next time you are having dinner with a group of friends, try leaving your phone at home.
Make It Work for You
A digital detox can be whatever you want it to be and can take many forms. You might want to try giving up all digital devices for a time, including television, mobile phones, and social media. In other cases, you might want to focus on restricting your use of just one type of digital device such as your phone or your gaming console.
Some ideas that you might consider trying:
- A digital fast: Try giving up all digital devices for a short period of time, such as a day or up to a week
- Recurrent digital abstinence: Pick one day of the week to go device-free
- A specific detox: If one app, site, game, or digital tool is taking up too much of your time, focus on restricting your use of that problematic item
- A social media detox: Focus on restricting or even completely eliminating your social media use for a specific period of time
Some people find giving up their devices fairly easy. Others will find it much more difficult and even anxiety-provoking at times.
There are some things that you can do to ensure that your digital detox is more successful:
- Let your friends and family know that you are on a digital detox and ask for their help and support
- Find ways to stay distracted and keep other activities on hand
- Delete social media apps from your phone to reduce temptation and easy access
- Try getting out of the house; go to dinner with friends or go for a walk when you are tempted to use your device
- Keep a journal to track your progress and write down your thoughts about the experience
A Word From Verywell
Going device-free can be uncomfortable and stressful at times. You might feel annoyed, anxious, and even bored without your mobile phone and other tech tools. While it may be hard, it can be a rewarding experience that will help you better understand your relationship with your devices and be more present and mindful in your other activities and experiences.
– Отфильтруйте новостные каналы, отпишитесь от страниц, которые усиливают в вас чувства страха и тревоги, или просто скройте их/отключите уведомления.
– Постарайтесь не читать комментарии ‒ люди часто очень эмоционально окрашивают свои сообщения в публичном поле, а также эта информация исключительно объективная, и делать выводы на ее основе может лишь повысить ваш уровень тревожности.
– Сократите время за телефоном: чтобы оставаться в курсе новостей, достаточно всего пары сеансов в день.
– Делайте выбор в пользу живого общения: даже если нет возможности встретиться вживую, старайтесь звонить или писать близким вам людям.
– Читайте книги ‒ это поможет собраться с мыслями и отключиться от информационного шума в голове и мире.
– Постарайтесь воспринимать всю входящую в ваше информационное поле информацию критически, а не эмоционально. Многие инфофейки и по сей день многими воспринимаются правдиво лишь по причине ускоренного ритма инфопотока, в котором нет места для спокойной и размеренной жизни.
– Поставьте ограничения на приложения, которыми вы пользуетесь больше всего, ‒ честное выставление лимита поможет наглядно замечать, сколько времени вы проводите в телефоне.
– Больше дышите свежим воздухом и гуляйте по возможности без отвлечения на телефон и другие девайсы.
– Соблюдайте режим сна: старайтесь ложиться до 00.00 и не берите телефон с собой в кровать.
Цифровой детокс (от англ. Digital Detox, digital-детокс) — это осознанный, добровольный отказ человека на определенное время от использования интернета, гаджетов и других цифровых устройств с целью отдохнуть от виртуального мира и информационного потока, снять стресс и напряжение, переключить внимание на другие занятия. Регулярная необходимость в цифровом детоксе приводит к медиаскетике — образу жизни с балансом между реальным и виртуальным.
Опрос ВЦИОМ показал: 77% россиян признают необходимость в периодическом отдыхе от интернета. Только за последний год 45% соотечественников сознательно отключали доступ к нему. Идеи временной цифровой изоляции все громче звучат по всей планете. Мы пообщались со специалистами Uplab и узнали, как абстрагируются от сети те, для кого digital — это призвание.
Гаджеты полностью завладели нашим вниманием и не сопровождают нас разве что только во сне. Чтобы «не оглохнуть» от информационного шума и всегда быть полным энергии и сил, необходимо регулярно устраивать digital detox — на время отказываться от мобильных устройств, социальных сетей и серфинга в интернете. Такая цифровая аскеза помогает концентрироваться на важном, а не срочном, смотреть на мир свежим взглядом и совершать открытия внутри себя и вовне.
Photo credit © rimmdream – Fotolia.com
A month ago I decided to go on a digital detox whilst on our 2 week family holiday to France. I have blogged before about my addiction to my smartphone but I really felt that I needed a break this time. A break from blogging. A break from social media. A break from emails. A break from the on-on-on-ness of the internet.
I switched everything off on my phone – even Instagram, and I kept it that way for 2 whole weeks.
So what are the pros and cons of a digital detox? And could you do it?
- You have so much more time. Reading and replying to emails takes up enough time on its own, add to that the vortex that is social media and I used to lose whole evenings to random chats on Twitter.
- You take in what’s going on around you. When your head is down in your phone, catching up on the latest gossip online, you miss out on magic moments with your kids.
Hubs throwing C through the air on holiday, with L underwater ready to catch her.
- You are less stressed. Because you don’t know what’s going on in the world, you can’t get upset by the news. Because you haven’t received a demanding email from a client you can’t freak out. Because you haven’t read a rude comment on social media you can’t get worked up. You relax and you stop stressing.
- You revive old hobbies. I used to be a massive book worm and then social media got in the way, with entire evenings spent online. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, and I’ve made some incredible friends through blogging and Twitter, but it needs to be in moderation. Whilst on holiday I read 7 books in 2 weeks. And it was heaven.
Reading my Kindle on holiday
- You’re more fun to be around. It wasn’t until I was off my phone that I realised how bloody anti-social it all is. I was convinced that I didn’t check it much (and in all honesty I’m not that bad, as I don’t go online whilst working) but I used to check my phone at the dinner table, or when out with friends, which I see now is just so rude.
- You see things more clearly. Being switched off and spending time in the moment helps you to be clearer on what you want out of life, to take big decisions, and to set yourself goals.
Now, that is all wonderful but is a digital detox all sweetness and light? Here’s the downside…..
- You know nothing. There is something very depressing about no longer knowing what is going on with people. Most of my friends now use social media to share engagements, wedding photos, pregnancies and baby pics. I HATED not seeing all this.
- Coming back is hard work. When you switch off for 2 weeks it is bliss. But when you come back to your email inbox it can be depressing to see all those unread emails that you need to deal with.
- You miss out on things. Whilst on holiday I got an email saying I’d won something, I needed to confirm my address before a certain date or they would move on to the next winner. Needless to say I missed the deadline and didn’t get the only thing I’ve won in ages.
- It’s hard not to share. After being so into social media for such a long time it was really hard to take a photo and then not share it online, especially some of the fab ones that I got during our holiday.
C wearing L’s goggles with my MiL’s dog on holiday. It was so hard not to crack and post this on Instagram.
Finally, do I recommend a digital detox?
ABSOLUTELY. In fact when we got back from our holiday it took me a long time to go back online. And since then I’ve been seriously limiting my social media time, just dipping in and out. And I’m loving the extra time I’ve got to spend with my family, and chill with a good book.
It may not work for you but it certainly did for me 🙂
A selfie of the 4 of us on holiday – switching off gave me such an amazing time with them.