Throughout the pandemic, technology has been our lifeline in staying connected to the outside world. Technology has helped us stay connected to family and friends, stay up to date with current events, perform our jobs remotely and help ease our boredom. Many of us have become glued to our screens to socialize, shop, stream videos and of course to partake in 'doomsday' scrolling for pandemic-related updates. According to WebMD, constantly being connected can a toll on our quality of life and negatively affect our mental and physical health. Maybe it's time for us to take a digital detox!
According to the Oxford Dictionary, 'digital detox' is defined as "a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world."
It might seem odd to be discussing digital detox on an online platform - particularly an innovation blog- but this may be the audience who needs it the most!
Reasons for a digital detox
There are many reasons to do a digital detox (or a partial digital detox), including:
- disrupt addictive behaviour, including internet addiction disorder.
- reduce stress and anxiety.
- reap big health benefits such as reduced eye strain, improved sleep, and increased physical activity. Overuse of technology can also increase the frequency of headaches.
- be more productive and have more time to spend with loved ones, in nature, etc.
- improve your self-esteem. In September, a Facebook whistleblower revealed research that 'Instagram use negatively impacted teen girls’ body image'.
How to do a digital detox
While it isn't feasible - or desirable- to completely eliminate our screen time, any step in the right direction can help reduce the negative impacts of screen time.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- turn off push notifications
- track your phone usage
- put your phone away during meals
- disconnect before bedtime
- rediscover print - including books, magazines and newspapers.
Want to learn more? Here are some (analog) sources to get you started!
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World by Doreen Dodgen-Magee
The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by Adam Gazzaley
How to Break Up with your Phone: the 30-day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price
And if you still have some screen time to spare, check out the recording from an excellent program on Digital Detox that was recently hosted by TPL.