Whilst technology can be incredibly useful, educational and stimulating, creating a balanced relationship with the devices in our lives is crucial to health and wellbeing.
According to Punkt, a technology design company focusing on simple, high-quality, mindful design: "Technology can bring great things, but like any good relationship, there should be healthy boundaries. The tendency to add ‘more and more’ to tech products has placed an increasing burden on us. As we spend more time looking down at a screen we are missing the opportunity to look up, look around and engage with life".
In an article on digital detoxing for The Telegraph it was highlighted that:
The average person checks their phone 200 times a day - that's once every six and a half minutes.
73% of Brits say they'd struggle to go a day without checking their phone or computer.
One in four people spend more time online than they do asleep.
70% of 16-24-year-olds say they prefer texting to talking.
The average teenager sends 3,400 electronic messages a month from their bed.
Punkt has put together some suggestions on easy first steps to digital detoxing:
No computers (including smartphones) in the bedroom; get an alarm clock.
Build the concept of the “digital sundown” into your life: put the gadgets away an hour or two before bedtime.
If you use social media, start reining it in:
restrict times you access it
delete social media apps from your smartphone, if you have one
tighten privacy settings
start purging your list of contacts/’friends’
Phone calls are often much more efficient than text exchanges. Maybe start experimenting with a few people in your life, using phone calls alongside text-based conversations, e.g. for arranging times to meet.
Keep informing yourself about technology. Punkt recommends exploring its library - a set of book recommendations that deepen awareness about technology and its role in society, staying in control of your devices and the value of elegant design. Books include Bored and Brilliant, Why We Sleep, New Dark Age and Alone Together.
Ask yourself whether technology is filling some kind of hole in your life, that could be addressed more effectively in other ways.
Dr Richard Graham, a Technology Addiction Specialist also suggests that establishing a maximum daily time allowance for using your devices will help you to stick to your detox.
In addition, you could try finding a detox buddy, leaving devices at home on a regular basis - and keeping them off during meal times / social situations, as well as telling people you know about your detox to help ensure you stick to it.
For those curious to join the conversation about ‘digital health’ and keep up-to-date with research on our tech dependence as well as tools, challenges and workshops (including events for young people) to keep connected to the real world, check out itstimetologoff.com