Recently, China opened more than 250 boot camps to help teenage internet addicts undergo a digital detox program. You must be wondering if internet addiction is real. Well, it is.
Before proceeding any further, let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts. Studies confirm that:
- 1 in 3 people feels that they can’t have a 5-minute conversation with friends and family without checking their phones.
- An average Indian spends over 1,800 hours a year on smartphones.
- Smartphone addiction threatens to be one of the biggest non-drug addictions in the 21st century.
The advent of the Internet and smartphones is most definitely one of the most remarkable developments, ever to have taken place in the field of telecommunication. They help augment and invigorate our social lives. However, it’s important to note that they have become an addiction to the youth of today. Hence, there arises a need for a digital detox. But, what is a digital detox?
WHAT IS A DIGITAL DETOX ?
We are all aware of the age-old adage “Technology is a good servant but a bad master.” Much as we hate to admit it, the truth remains that we spend countless hours on our phones, laptops, etc. Research reveals that receiving likes and comments on your posts or merely scrolling through your social media feeds gives you a dopamine rush, which is why you start associating social media with social validation. Research also reveals that dopamine is a major factor responsible for addiction and risk-taking behaviors.
The idea of digital detox has been around for a long time, but, we don’t consider implementing it. Much like a digestive detox, a digital detox is an act of voluntarily unplugging from technology and reducing the compulsive behaviors associated with it. Such a practice can help replenish your mind, body, and spirit and thus enhance your overall well-being.
5 IMPORTANT STEPS TO DO A DIGITAL DETOX
The following are some of the practicable tips that can help you cut down on the excessive use of technology. Mind you, the idea is not to make you break up with your phones completely or to make you completely rule out the use of technology. All you need to do is: relax your grip on the excessive use of the internet. It’s not a toughie.
1. TURN OFF AS MANY PUSH NOTIFICATIONS AS POSSIBLE: The idea of impulsively grabbing your phones as soon as some notification pops us on your phone screen is absurd. You don’t need to immediately know what’s happening around. Getting distracted by push notifications ruins your productivity. So, it’s best to turn off the push notifications of the not-so-important applications.
2. KEEP YOUR PHONE AWAY ONE HOUR BEFORE SLEEPING: While surfing the internet at night, you don’t usually keep a tab on time and you tend to compromise on your sleep. The blue light emitted from your phone tricks your brains into thinking it’s daytime, which makes it harder for you to go off to sleep. It’s best to utilize the hour before lights out, in interacting with your family members or doing something productive.
3. MAKE YOUR MEALS A TECH-FREE ZONE: To say that using your phone while having meals is not good for health, would be an understatement. There is an array of problems associated with the use of phones during mealtime. The more attention you direct towards your phones, the less mindful your eating. Making calls, sending text messages, or surfing the internet while you’re eating is against the mealtime etiquettes and can cause you to either under-eat or overeat. Such a practice also comes across as blatant rude to the people you’re having your meal with. It also exacerbates your bad posture and keeps you from having a rich dining experience.
4. ENGAGE IN OFFLINE ACTIVITIES DURING YOUR ‘ME-TIME’: There are umpteen things you can do, instead of remaining glued to your phones. Offline activities encompass reading a book, exercising, going out on nature walks, painting, playing outdoor games, or pursuing any hobby for that matter.
5. INSTALL APPLICATIONS THAT MONITOR INTERNET USAGE: Apps like Forest, Freedom, Moment, ZenScreen, etc. help combat screen addiction, so to speak. These apps help track how much of your day is taken up by screens and how you can monitor screen time.
In this hyperconnected world, it’s upon us to figure out if we are overusing or misusing technology and then take the right steps in the right direction because let’s face it: If we are spending more-than-required time on the internet/smartphones, we sure are setting ourselves up for frequent trips to the eye doctor. Other than that, we are inviting physical and/or mental health issues associated the with overuse of technology, for as we all know, ‘Excess of everything is bad. ‘ Take one step at a time, try implementing the tips mentioned above, and you’re off to a good start. Your life is going to be a whole lot better, you’ll stay healthy, will be able to forge better relationships, and focus on the more important things in life.