“What? There’s no WiFi here?!”
Taking your phone to the bathroom in case you miss a call. Leaving your phone on the table throughout dinner and twitching at every vibration. Waking up in the night to check notifications. Feeling nervous when your phone has 5% battery, or asking to charge your phone behind the bar. Instagramming everything before you eat it and refreshing your Twitter feed to see if you’ve been retweeted. Replying to a text during yoga?
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you may just be in need of a digital detox. Despite the fact that technology has made so many aspects of our lives easier, many of us now have an unhealthy addiction to our smartphones and tablets. According to research, we’re so dependent on our mobile phones that we check them every six-and-a-half minutes. (I’ve already checked mine twice since writing this article).
Scientists believe the habitual checking of devices is related to the effects of social inclusion and exclusion. Now we can find out what all our friends are doing at the touch of a button, we feel compelled to see what they’re up to. But although we may feel more ‘included’ by knowing what everyone, everywhere is doing… it’s actually interfering with real life social interaction.
Our mobile phones with all their apps, social networks and inboxes are a constant reminder of the things we’re not doing and the people we’re not seeing. In fact, a recent Mashable article revealed that more than half of social media users suffer from Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). That gnawing insecurity of missing out is affecting our ability to enjoy the present.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by technology, exhausted and constantly distracted, here are some tips for your digital detox:
- Learn to log out.
- Create a technology-free zone in your house.
- Have smartphone free times during your day.
- Get friendly with ‘airplane mode’ when you’re on the ground.
- Disable all notifications (that’s apps and emails too).
- Choose a holiday destination with no WiFi.
- Create distractions when you feel the urge to check.
- It sounds counter-intuitive but follow #unplug on Twitter.
- Download the app Anti-Social or Digital Detox.
- If all else fails, have you seen the ‘Off’ button?
Produced by Victoria Crump-Haill, Senior Digital Account Manager, Brandcast Media