Digital Detox – the new mantra of 2019

Smartphones causing Stress

Do you spend most of your time hooked onto a digital device? If you find it impossible to stay away from your smart phone you are addicted to it.

We live in a hyper connected world today. Digital technology has penetrated every sphere of our world. A life without our mobile phones or computers is unimaginable.

It is true that life has become much easier through these gadgets but we fail to see the consequences of the overuse of this technology. We are so obsessed with digital technology that we somehow overlook the negativity that we are breeding every time we pick up our phone.

If we as responsible adults find it difficult to stay away from digital media, imagine the impact it can have on children and adolescents who are constantly watching us. For young children the mobile is more a toy than a gadget. And as more and more youngsters are glued to social media we find it hard to prevent them from getting addicted.

This dangerous addiction to screen time has disconnected us from family and friends. We find it easier to wish a friend on social media rather than drop in at his home. Our kids are so enamored by social media that they have stopped listening to us. Couples are busy scrolling their phones rather than having a conversation at the end of the day.

According to a report in India Today 53% of Indians are connected to the internet every waking hour which is higher than the global average of 51 per cent. Around 24 per cent of adolescents in India have Internet Addiction disorder (IAD).

Addiction to digital screens increases stress, reduces productivity, interferes with our sleep, causes health problems and has disconnected us from each other.

The answer to this crisis is digital detox. A term that’s doing the rounds these days but is seldom taken seriously.  It’s time we made a resolution to stay away from our screens for a short time every day. Although a 100 per cent digital detox is not practical we should use technology to enrich our lives rather than be controlled by our devices.

What is digital detox?

Digital detox refers to cutting ourselves from digital media for a short or long interval of time. Sounds pretty straight forward but needs some will power to execute.

Steps towards a digital detox.

1. Begin your day with meditation.

jnana mudra close up pranayam

Stop reaching for your phone the first thing in the morning. Begin your day in a mindful way by embracing yoga and meditation. When you cut down digital time you realize you have time for leading a healthier and sustainable life. Write a journal. Do some gardening even if that means watering your indoor plants. And see how these habits can transform your life.

2. Put off notifications on your phone

If you are busy with the internet indefinitely and spend most of your time checking your smartphone try putting off notifications to Facebook Twitter Whatsapp. Delete unnecessary apps on your phone and use apps that help you monitor your screen time. Designate a specific time to check emails and messages.

3. Limit your tech time

family time

To begin with it’s a good idea to stay away from all screens for a short time every day. Once you achieve this you can gradually increase this time and spend an entire day free from all digital devices. Encourage your family to do the same.

Dinner time with family can be more enjoyable when you ditch your phone. When was the last time you conversed with each other at the dinner table? We can reconnect with our family and build better bonds if we make meal times tech free. When we are busy checking our phones we ignore what is happening in front of us.

4. Make the bedroom a tech free zone

Don’t charge your phones in the bedroom. Stay off from all screens during bedtime. Move your phone to the living room. Without exposure to the blue light on screens the quality of our sleep will improve.  It’s time we invested in an alarm clock to wake us up. Read to your kids at bedtime and rediscover this forgotten art.

5. Enjoy tech free vacations

Family travel

While on vacation try to use your screens as little as possible and learn to appreciate the outdoors. During holidays engage in activities that keep you away from your screen and truly rejuvenate yourself.

6. Text less and talk more

Two young female friends conversing over coffee

Encourage everyone around you to stop texting and instead rediscover the art of meeting and chatting with each other. Encourage your kids to spend time and communicate with their friends. Get away from the virtual world and get acquainted with the real world.

A digital detox is highly beneficial and each one of us should take a step towards minimizing screen time.

Screen addiction is more difficult to treat than drug addiction so let us resolve to unplug from technology and plug into the real world.