The Digital Detox – Is It Time?
With digital detoxes all the rage, a diet detox seems so last year. No longer are we talking about nasty shakes and supplements but instead how and when to turn off our devices.
Randi Zuckerberg former Facebook Marketing Director (and sister to Facebook’s famous founder) has recently identified the ‘Digital Detox’ as one of the top Social Media trends. She said that while people need to understand that “the phone is an amazing tool… we own our devices, they don’t own us.”
Very wise words.
But technology has crept into our lives and entrenched itself so heavily that it seems impossible to imagine life without an array of internet connected devices.
15 years ago nobody banked or bought their groceries online. We would never have dreamed of sharing our status update nor a picture of what we had for dinner with the entire world!! Now we are all doing it. Come on – let’s be honest.
And while there are some absolute benefits to our digital existence, for many it is becoming just too overwhelming. The constant wave of emails, the self-congratulatory Facebook friend updates or an (honest) acknowledgement that you would rather leave your family at home than your devices has given rise to the idea of a digital detox.
Now a digital detox could be as simple as turning your devices off for a weekend or even just disabling the internet on your Kindle. But for those who need professional intervention, there is help available.
In Northern California, a new summer camp for adults has been established to help people “disconnect to reconnect.” Camp Grounded is a three-day camp “where grown-ups go to unplug, getaway and be kids again” free from the interruptions of their mobile devices and with activities ranging from meditative breathing workshops to communal sing-alongs.
Organised by a group called Digital Detox, the rules of the camp are simple: no phones, computers, tablets or watches; and work talk, discussion of people’s ages and use of real names are prohibited.
And there is help for kids too! In the UK, parents who can’t wean their children off computer games and mobile phones are paying up to £16,000 (or AU$26,500) for a 28-day ‘digital detox’ programme designed by leading Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham (who specialises in technology addition) at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a technology hater. I am one of its biggest fans. Without it, I would never be able to juggle the balls that I do and somehow make it all work. But I can see how too much online connectivity can lead to a loss in real life connectivity.
So instead of taking a trip to Northern California or even London for a full digital detox, perhaps we should start with some real digital-free time each week. Why not start out with a Sunday afternoon adventure with some friends or family. Leave the smartphone at home and take the digital camera instead to record the moment. I promise you won’t regret it.
And if you are having withdrawal symptoms during your detox, remember you can always upload the pics to social media as soon as you get back!! Phew!!!
Till Next Time