Once every 12 minutes, or 80 times a day, the average American checks their phone. Not because of incessant phone calls, but instead, because of the numerous features smartphones have made us accustomed to. Social media is recognized as comparable to a drug addiction when used excessively, and in today’s culture, excessive use is more common than one may think. Of course, there are numerous benefits to technology and social media, but it’s important to remember they are best when used in moderation and on a healthy schedule. The best way to achieve this balance is through an occasional digital detox. Here we’re taking a deep dive into the importance of digital detoxing.
What’s involved in a digital detox?
A digital detox refers to a period of time during which you disconnect from any and all technologies and electronics connected to the internet. This includes everything from smartphones and tablets, to laptops and television. Refrainment from using these tools is meant to reduce stress, clear your head and focus more on real-life interactions with your surroundings. For younger generations, detoxes can also help reduce the risk of tech addiction. At first try, it’s recommended to start out with a manageable amount of unplugged time. Say 30 minutes to an hour. From there you can build up to eventually reach the ultimate goal of a 24-hour tech-free day.
There are several reasons digital detoxes are important for individuals of all ages. Younger generations often spend too much time on social media, while many millennial and baby boomer individuals are going from a tech-centric job to home in front of the TV or another technology device. These behaviors, if not properly monitored, can have negative effects on both physical and mental health stability.
Social media has a way of sucking a user in. What starts out as a quick Facebook check-in, too easily turns into an hour and a half of mindless scrolling. Purposefully avoiding the constant refresh of your follower’s OOTD or elaborate vacation destination can allow you the opportunity to be present in your own situation. Without the distractions technology tends to incur, you’re more aware of those around you and can better focus your attention.
Generally speaking, browsing the internet or watching television is a sedentary activity. All this time spent sitting can have drastically negative effects on your physical health as it can contribute to weight gain, heart problems and even anxiety and depression. Unplugging presents an opportunity to get up and get moving! Taking a walk outside, trying a new exercise class or just enjoying downtime to putter around your house can help get your blood flowing and release some endorphins sitting in front of a computer doesn’t provide.
As much as we try to remind ourselves that social media is not an accurate perception of reality, it can be difficult at times. Real life, however, isn’t lived through filters and it’s important to remind yourself of this fact to recognize the beauty in your own life. It’s not uncommon for individuals who spend too much time on social media to feel as though their lives are inadequate. In fact, a study of 82 young adults found that the more they used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined. Digital detoxes can help fend off these feelings of comparison and maintain healthy self-esteem.
As technology continues to advance and expand into more areas of our lives, it will become increasingly important to maintain healthy usage. We hope this refresher encourages you to try implementing digital detoxes into you and your family’s routines.
Bio: Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and a tech-obsessed female from the Big Apple. She lives by building and redesigning websites, running marathons and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.