Do You Need a Digital Detox?

By Lauryn Page | 12/05/2016

Technology makes life easier. Over the past decade, cell phone technology has increased personal internet usage as people search for everything from movie reviews to grocery delivery. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are available for nonstop entertainment. But too much of anything can be bad. Sometimes, we need a digital detox. A digital detox is a specific time period that a person stops using electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers to reduce their stress or focus on physical social interaction.

Side Effects of a Digital Life

Staring at your cell phone or tablet for long periods of time makes you squint, making your eyes dry and blink less often. The devices emit a blue light that causes blurred vision and general eyesight decay, and can cause frequent headaches and short-term memory loss, known as digital dementia. Usually bad posture occurs from the neck and back leaning forward to look at the screen resulting in strain and tightness in your muscles.

Studies show that some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes. 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen while watching television. Close to half of cell phone owners have slept with their phone next to their bed. These statistics show that we’ve surpassed using mobile phones for emergency use. This is living the digital life. We’re overly attached to technology and our bodies are taking the brunt of its effects.

Signs You Need a Digital Detox

Besides muscle aches and pains, digital life side-effects may not be as obvious. Go through this list. Do any of these sound like you?

  • Does forgetting your smartphone at home bring on a panic attack?
  • Do you think there’s no harm in answering a few work emails on your day off?
  • Is your body covered with bruises from bumping into walls, chairs, and glass doors?
  • Do you experience digital dementia and occasionally find your keys in the freezer?

If any of these sound familiar, or you’ve experienced similar situations, you may be overdoing your use of technology and online engagement. It might be time for a digital detox.

How to Digitally Detox

Starting a digital detox is harder than most people think, but still possible. First, make a list of the digital habits you want to change. Set a daily allowance of time to use technology. Make achievable goals and start off with small time limits. Try changing one bad habit at a time. For example, don’t bring your smartphone to the dinner table. Instead, enjoy some face-to-face interaction with your family and friends. Once you break one habit, move on to the next one on your list.