So, I hear you asking, what is a digital detox? According to Wikipedia, ‘digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers.’ While this is the baseline definition, there are many variations, such as some people will completely ban all technology including TVs and all phones whereas some people may just stop using their phone or computer for a little while.
I have done my own technology detox, but never by choice. As I have mentioned in other articles before, I went to Kenya for three weeks in 2016. While we were in Kenya, we weren't allowed our phones, so my phone was all the way back in England while I was 6,000 miles away. I did have my Kindle with me, so it wasn't a full detox, but in modern day it's a rare occurrence to be without a phone. I have to admit that it was very weird and almost disconcerting to not have my phone nearby. At the same time though, it was nice and refreshing not to worry about it or be distracted by social media.
Another time when I've been a bit more full on with my digital detox is when we had a live wire in our house and We had to turn all the electricity off while it was fixed. This meant we were without lights, without Internet and without TV for around 12 hours. We were working by candlelight and wind up torches, and were reliant on our data packages if we wanted to use internet. But eventually our data ran out so we ended up reading books and playing board games and it was actually so much fun. It had been ages since we'd done something properly as a family without technology. It was such a fun night and I was almost sad when we got the power back. After that night, we decided to do a family games night every month… of course we never followed through with this. We let technology take over once again.
Everyone needs a little break from their phone or their electronics. In 2015, Pew Research Centre conducted a study on teenagers (age 13-17) and their reliance and use of technology on a daily basis. 92% of the teens they asked said they used technology, social media and the Internet daily whilst 24% of that 92% said they used it ‘almost constantly.’ 50% of teens said they used it several times a day and 85% of teens said they had or had access to a smartphone. Facebook was found to be a dominant source of social media with over 50% of teens having and using an account. It's quite shocking really once you look at the figures.
If you fancy going on a detox, here are some things to think about.
1 - WHAT?
What are you going to give up? Are you thinking of just turning your phone off or are you wanting to go the full ten yards?
2 - WHEN?
When are you going to give up this technology and for how long for? It doesn't necessarily have to be a long time. Even a day, or maybe just an hour.
3 - WHY?
Why do you want to go on a detox? Is it to cleanse your aura and be free of all the negativity of social media? Is it because you need to focus and it's a distraction? Whatever the reason, be clear on that and stick to it.
I don't necessarily think that technology is a bad thing - not at all. It can be a blessing. It gives you the ability to stay connected with people and to connect with new people. It means you can update people on your whereabouts at all times and save every moment of your life, every memory to that infamous Cloud where it's just safe and immortal. However, it can also be a curse disguised as a blessing for the same reasons. Personally, I would recommend a detox, despite all the downsides. It's important to take a moment for ourselves without social media bringing us down with its all consuming negativity.
Whatever you decide, just be safe with it. Internet safety is as relevant as ever.
- Don't share your personal information such as phone number or address online.
- Don't give your social media password to anyone.
- Always make sure you know who you're talking to.
- Be careful when using geotagging or ‘checking in’ on Facebook.
- Be vigilant.
Stay safe, sunshine.