Modern technology brings huge benefits, whether in education, work or entertainment, but it also has its downside. Over-reliance on it can contribute to both physical and mental health problems. Just as many health experts advise a period of abstaining from taking in harmful substances, whether alcohol or unhealthy foods, to detox and reset your body, so there can be substantial benefits from doing the same with technology — a digital detox.
Why Might You Need a Digital Detox?
As a society, we tend to be heavily reliant on our phones and other digital devices. Research suggests that children and young people on average spend 6.5 hours a day looking at screens of one type or another.Worse, this can lead to a reliance that could be regarded as an addiction. In a recent US study, a staggering 50% of teenagers considered that they might be addicted to their mobile devices.
Over-reliance on digital devices has been linked with a number of health issues:
What Are the Signs You Need a Digital Detox?
If you can simply leave your phone untouched until there's a good reason why you might need to check it, the likelihood is that you wouldn't need a digital detox. If, on the other hand, you feel compelled to check it every few minutes, that's another matter, especially if you feel stressed and anxious when you're unable to do so. Perhaps you find it difficult to concentrate if you can't check your phone, or you're constantly worrying about what you might be missing. Perhaps you feel compelled to check it first thing after you wake or last thing before you go to sleep.
If any of these apply to you, your technology use may be bordering onaddiction, and a digital detox would be a good thing.
How to Do a Digital Detox
If it's practical to have a period of complete abstinence from any digital device, then that would be ideal. However, this may not be possible. Perhaps you have to check your emails in order to do your work or lessons, or perhaps it's not practical for family and friends to be unable to contact you.
In this case, you can set specific rules for yourself. For example, you could have a cut-off point after you've finished your job or your homework where you switch off all your devices and spend the rest of your evening digital free. Other times you might want to declare digital free might include:
Remember that it's vital your family and friends are aware of these restrictions, so they're not putting temptation in your way. Following Up on Your Digital Detox If you're able to do a complete detox, this will obviously only be for a limited period. However, that doesn't mean you should go straight back to your old ways. Just like an alcohol or dietary detox, the success of a digital detox depends on following up with healthier habits.
These may include, for instance, setting up some or all of the digital-free times suggested above, or you might set minimum times between checking your phone or other devices. If you can establish these good habits, you're likely to find your stress-levels falling and your sleep improving both in quantity and quality, as well as feeling more content with your life. Register with TutorExtra for more advice and resources.