If you are completely honest, chances are you’re just as addicted to your electronic devices as the rest of America seems to be.
According to the manifesto of digitaldetox.org
- 61 percent [of adults] admit to being addicted to the Internet and their devices.
- The average American dedicates 30 percent of leisure time to perusing the Web.
- 50 percent of people prefer to communicate digitally than in person.
- 67 percent of cellphone owners find themselves checking their device even when it’s not ringing or vibrating.
- One out of 10 Americans report depression; heavy Internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed.
The facts are clear, and it is likely that each one of them hits home for you. Now, more than ever, we are living in a digital age, and it will only increase from here. That is why it is so important to take time to disconnect from the digital aspect of your life and detox from its negative impacts.
If you are honest, you know you need a digital detox
The Oxford English Dictionary defines digital detoxing as “a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”
You may be thinking you can walk away from your smartphone anytime without a problem. For your sake, hopefully, that is true. However, for most of us, trying to quit cold turkey on technology can present quite a challenge and a shock to the system.
Kate Unsworth, CEO of Kovert Designs created her company because she realized that technology was taking over too much of her daily life, just as it is for most people these days. “I don’t want my children growing up like this,” says Unsworth. “Reading these studies convinced me that we need to do something. But it will take more than just individuals unplugging periodically. It will take change in social values and etiquette.”
Her company creates a line of connected jewelry that allows people to separate from some of their technology but still be alerted if they are needed.
Prepare yourself for the challenge ahead
If you want to succeed at taking some time off from technology and grounding yourself in reality, then you need to prepare for the challenge ahead. An important step is admitting that you need to take this time away to get back in touch with the people around you and the life going on before your very eyes.
You also need to plan ahead of time to take your digital detox vacation, even if it is just for a day. By scheduling it on the calendar and telling friends or family that you are going to do it makes it easier to stick to your plan and fight off temptation.
According to information from the Harvard Business Review, men are 22 percent more likely to reach their goals if they specifically record their intentions, while women are 10 percent more likely to do so if they share their intentions with others.
Not to mention, by letting others know you will be out of touch for a short time, you won’t be stressing out that they are trying to reach you. After all, stress reduction is a big part of the reason you would do a digital detox in the first place.
Start to envision in your mind how much freer you will feel without being tethered to your smartphone all day. Daydream about how you can spend the time doing other things. Meditate on the goals you have for yourself by taking that time away from technology. Then make the leap and pull the plug.
Are you unsure whether you can do it alone? Then try it with a group support
If you are not sure whether you can go it alone, then try unplugging with a group for mutual support. Consider spending some time at Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults. Camp Grounded is all about bringing adults together to escape technology and reconnect with the world around them. To date, people from over 30 states and more than eight countries have participated. There are over 50 playshops and activities to help keep campers busy and actively participating with others.
You can come up with any number of excuses why you need your technology, but remember that there was a time when you lived just fine without it. Take the time to unplug and get back to hands-on living.
—The Alternative Daily