Welcome to the digital age! As a society, we’ve all grown accustomed to instant access to information via electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, and smart phones. In fact, we often panic if we’re away from electronic devices for too long, a term known as fear of missing out (FOMO). If you’ve questioned this reliance on digital devices for you and your family members and feel a break might be necessary, read on for information regarding a digital detox.
What is a digital detox?
A digital detox is either a formal or informal program designed to give electronics users a break from their reliance on digital devices. From a Digital Blackout Challenge, which is a detox week, to a Tech Timeout, a program that has family members commit to a certain amount of non-tech time on a weekly basis, there are programs that help guide family members in effectively taking a break from electronics.
Ill effects of technology on health:
• Trouble preserving thoughts in long-term memory due to “split focus.”
• Difficulty filtering out irrelevant information.
• Chronically distracted.
• Adverse affect on vision.
According to this article, there are no findings to support the theory that cell phone radiation causes disease such as cancer. However, research supports the theory that technology can have negative impact on overall health in a number of ways. For instance, Dr. Guy Meadows, author of “The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night,” has seen an increasing number of patients with insomnia due to their inability to put down their gadgets. Performing just two or three tasks at the same time, such as texting, watching TV, and spending time on the computer, puts far more demand on the brain in general, which can lead to difficulty with long-term memory. Some attribute poor communication and social skills in kids to our society’s increased reliance on technology.
Effective ways to detox:
1. Set a time frame for a digital detox. Some suggest starting with one day, such as a Sunday, and progressing to a weekend or even a detox week.
2. Notify necessary individuals you’ll be unavailable. For instance, your boss, clients, and other family members might grow concerned if unable to reach you.
3. Have a plan for emergencies. For example, decide how your children will communicate with you if they’re away from home.
4. Don’t treat the detox as a punishment.
5. Plan to do something fun with the detox time. A family activity is a great way to use the free time.
Benefits of a digital detox:
• The detox provides a break from information overload and overstimulation from technology.
• It allows for reevaluation of the use of technology.
• The break encourages setting boundaries and limits for technology use. Living without constant access to information, even temporarily, makes you realize you can.
• Kids learn how to do nothing, a valuable tool for life.
How to set healthy limits with technology:
• Have a “no texting” rule at dinner. Encourage conversation with the family instead.
• Set a good example. If your kids see parents who are constantly glued to their phones and/or computers, they are likely pick up and exhibit the same habits.
• Emphasize the importance of finding balance in life with technology.
Additional information on digital detox:
Visit www.digitalblackout.org or www.techtimeout.com for valuable information.
Be Wize & Be Healthy