Amber is a writer with a large family and a wide array of knowledge on various topics, including budgeting, parenting, and many more!
In a world where technology seems to be inseverable from our daily lives, it can be hard to imagine life during a time when there were cordless phones and parents didn't track their children. But there were times when the internet and its boundless information were not at our fingertips. Research papers involved thumbing through encyclopedias instead of looking things up on Google.
Technology brings a lot of great things into the world, but too much of anything can be a bad thing. That's why it can be important for both you and your family to consider a digital detox, which can allow you to enjoy quite a few benefits, beat screen addiction in children, and more.
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is also referred to as a digital cleanse. It is when someone abstains from digital devices, including their phone, television, laptop, etc. They do not use technology for anything for a predetermined period of time.
I've personally done a digital detox before. So have my children. I grew up without digital devices and was only allowed a little bit of television, so I find it refreshing at times. There are quite a few benefits to taking a break from technology.
Being constantly connected in your everyday life can have its benefits, but it can also be very stressful. Receiving constant information can be overstimulating for our brains, giving people feelings of anxiety. When you unplug from your electronic devices, you'll feel more relaxed.
According to my children's pediatrician, psychologist, and teachers at my university, technology leads to disrupted sleep. The stress and anxiety of constantly being connected make it harder to fall asleep and get a good quality of sleep. Technology use before bedtime means that it will take longer for you to fall asleep. Simply unplugging can help you get the rest that you need.
More Fulfilling Social Interactions
When you have your phone in your hand, it can be hard to be fully present during social interactions. Taking the time to put down your devices can lead to you actually listening to what people are saying and having more positive person-to-person social interactions.
When you take a break from technology, you'll notice that you can focus on tasks easier. You'll be more productive when you do things.
I work in the digital marketing sector. Today, I write SEO blogs for a variety of businesses. While I don't unplug during the day because I am on my laptop, I do attempt to eliminate other distractions when I am working. I have a home office and don't respond to social media. When I do this, I can write faster and produce better quality work when compared to times that I check my mobile devices or take breaks to scroll through social media sites.
Decreased Risk of Mental Illness
Since technology began to become a part of our daily lives, there have been countless studies on the way that technology and the devices that we use impact everything from our lives to our brains. They've studied everything from smartphone use to the use of social media apps, and the results are not all good.
According to this study, checking your social media while you're in bed can lead to insomnia and anxiety. Children are also at risk. The more children use technology, the more likely they are to have a hard time with self-regulation. They are more likely to develop problems like ADHD and conduct disorder-related symptoms, such as increased aggression, according to this study.
You'll Create a Better Work/Life Balance
It can be difficult to resist the urge to check your email when you're with your family and hear your phone ding. You feel compelled to check the text messages that come through, only to discover that it's work. This can make it impossible to have a healthy balance between work and life.
A Social Media App Can Lead to Life Dissatisfaction
It can be difficult to feel content with life when you consistently see other people. You take a vacation to the same place as someone else, and some people can't help but compare. You're bombarded by images of beautiful places and beautiful bodies daily. It can be hard not to compare yourself or life to someone else's, but this can lead to you not feeling content with your own life.
Enjoying the Moment
If you find yourself constantly taking pictures for social media, you'll feel relieved to finally be living in the moment. Instead of worrying about snapping the perfect shot for Instagram, you'll be able to relax and have a good time with your friends.
There are several great things that will happen when you and your family take a break from technology. However, there are a couple of disadvantages that you'll need to keep in mind.
Screen Addiction Withdrawal
If your entire family is going to unplug, you need to keep in mind that you or your children might actually be addicted to screens or certain apps, such as YouTube. It's even possible to get addicted to certain television shows because they are overstimulating. Technology addiction is not listed as an addictive disorder, but my daughter's psychologist says that it can happen, especially if people enjoy excessive screen time.
If you and your children spend the majority of your lives with a device in hand, you're going to be bored. Instead of waiting until you all feel as though you're going to go crazy to do something about it, take the time to plan for boredom before you embark on a digital cleansing.
Less Social Interaction
In a world where everyone instant messages instead of dialing a phone number, you'll instantly notice that you aren't in tune with your social circle as much. You'll miss out on group outings if they forget to invite you. You won't know the inside jokes that happened during the group chat. While it can be refreshing for some people, it can be depressing for other people.
You're Less Informed
People share things on social media and then assume that everyone knows them. If you're not on social media anymore, you're bound to miss out on a few things. You won't know that your friend got a new haircut, and someone might forget to invite you to a party. While it can be pure bliss being a little bit less informed, you also will realize that you're missing out on some of your friend's life events.
You're not just less informed about what is going on in your social circle; you're less informed about what is happening in the world. Some events in the world will have an impact on both you and your family, so you should be aware of them. That's not possible if you're avoiding technology.
Why Is This Important?
Detoxing gives you the opportunity to see how technology is impacting your life. It gives you a breath of fresh air and helps you learn how to enjoy technology without having to suffer from the disastrous negative effects of technology, such as the way that increased social media usage can result in you not feeling fulfilled with life.
Signs That You Need a Digital Cleansing
While most of us use more social media and technology than we care to admit, that doesn't necessarily mean that we're addicted to it. However, there are some signs that you need to unplug for a while. The more of these signs that you notice, the more important it is for you to take a break from technology:
- Anxiety or aggression when spending time watching television or on your phone
- Constantly feeling compelled to check your device for fear of missing out
- You feel compelled to check your phone or need to have it in your hand
- Anger or anxiety when you cannot find your phone
- Feeling obsessed with likes or comments on posts
- More concerned with an appearance on social media than enjoying the moment
- Difficulty concentrating without checking your phone
If you notice that your phone and technology seem to be taking over your life or that your happiness depends on technology, it's time to take a break with a digital detox.
How to Do a Digital Detox
A true digital cleansing involves unplugging from all technology. You would not use your phone, television, or laptop.
However, this doesn't work for everyone. Some people do not have the option to simply turn off their phones for days on end. For example, if you're a mom, you will need to know if your child gets sick at school.
Because of this, a digital detox now takes on several different forms. Some people opt to simply unplug for hours during the day when they can. Children may not be allowed to use technology except for during weekends. Opting for a social media detox instead of a digital one is another popular alternative.
It's important to make your digital detox work for you. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of a digital cleansing, but you may discover a new lifestyle that works wonderfully for both you and your family.
The popularity of the digital detox challenge has convinced millions of people to simply give up technology for a week. This fad seems to trend off and on, but it never really goes out of style. Get a group of friends together, and do the digital detox challenge together.
Heading off for a digital detox retreat is a great idea if you're having a hard time unplugging. Retreats offer opportunities for adults to get away from everything for a few days. Many offer the opportunity for teens and young adults to go on trips or enjoy a group outing without technology.
Even doing this for a short period of time can provide benefits. Check out digitaldetox.com if you're interested in going to a retreat.
When considering undergoing a digital detox, it's important to consider ideas that will work for yourself and your family. These are some of the best ways to cut back on technology use for the period of time that you choose to do a digital cleansing, and they will work out well if you would like to continue a life that is not constantly connected.
Instead of completely unplugging, consider giving yourself limits. Have your phone on during the day in case the school calls, but don't check your phone. Simply sit it in the other room where you can still hear it ring. Give yourself permission to only listen to music on your phone if you want your workout playlists.
Setting limits and sticking to them will allow you to still enjoy the benefits of a digital cleansing. Consider using your phone settings to make sure that only certain applications work so you can still receive phone calls.
Give Yourself a Time Limit
Setting a time limit for technology use is a great way to cut back on using it throughout your life. Most phones have a tracker that you can use to determine how long you are on your phone.
You can also set a timer to scroll through social media for 30 minutes per day. This time limit will allow you time to do things that you want to do while preventing technology from taking over your life.
Abstain for a Predetermined Period of Time
If you would like to do a complete digital cleansing, plan it in advance. Tell yourself that you are going to abstain from technology for three days. You don't have to do a digital cleansing for more than this period of time if it is not realistic.
Re-Occurring Breaks From Technology
Most people are able to enjoy the benefits of digital detoxing by committing to giving themselves breaks from technology during certain periods of time. For example, no one in the household uses their phone or any technology on Mondays.
Some families choose to do this on weekends so that they can enjoy quality time together. Consider how technology is interrupting your life and what benefits you would like to enjoy to determine when you should take breaks from technology.
Keep a Digital Detox Journal
Throughout the process, take the time to jot down your thoughts and experiences. This can help you determine whether this is a good idea and whether it has had a positive impact on your life. You'll often find that you will want to do a digital cleanse again after reading through your journal.
When you take the time to do a digital cleansing, it's important to make it work for you. You want to enjoy the benefits, but you need to make sure that you keep these tips in mind when coming up with a digital detox plan.
Be Realistic With Your Goals and Plan
While unplugging from everything sounds like a great idea, you need to keep in mind that it might not be realistic for your situation. Consider when you use technology, whether it's essential, and when you can safely cut out technology to create a personalized plan.
Turn Off Notifications
It can be hard to resist the urge to check your phone every time it goes off or you get a notification from a social media app. Instead of listening to it beep or seeing your phone light up, you can check your notifications later. Consider setting aside time daily to check emails and notifications so that they are not a distraction throughout the day.
If turning off notifications isn't enough, delete unnecessary apps from your phone. You can always re-install them later! This will help you resist the temptation to check them throughout the day.
Keep Yourself Busy
If you find that it's very difficult to live your life without checking your phone frequently, consider keeping yourself busy. Go hang out with friends and family members. Take a class. See new places. Pick up a new hobby. Focus on your physical health. You'll have a lot more free time once you unplug, so you can finally enjoy things that you previously thought you didn't have time to.
Reach Out for Support
Let your close family and friends know that you will be taking a break from technology. You don't want them to think that you are ignoring them. Most people that take a break from technology still talk on the phone, so let them know that they can feel free to call you instead of texting you.
Why is a digital detox necessary?
It gives you the chance to recalibrate your brain, break screen addictions, and essentially hit the reset button on your technology use, helping you to avoid some of the common downfalls that go hand in hand with increased technology use, such as ADHD and mental illness.
What is a digital cleanse?
A digital cleanse is the same thing as a digital detox. Both of these terms are used interchangeably. It is when you give up technology use for a certain period of time or so many days in order to enjoy the benefits of not using it.
Should I make my teen do a digital detox?
If you find that your teen doesn't put their phone down or is compulsively checking their devices and can't seem to function without them, it might be time for a detox. Consider working slowly towards limiting technology one thing at a time, such as social media apps first. Talk with your teen to get them on board too.
There are quite a few benefits to technology. Nothing can compare to the convenience that it provides or the opportunities for people to learn more about one another as they chat with those from across the world. However, there comes a time when a digital detox is a great idea, too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Amber Lynn