The original meaning of the word detox usually relates to the process addicts (alcohol or narcotics) go through to rid the body of these harmful substances. This process is unpleasant, often painful physically and mentally, and is a means to an end.
As the health and wellness movement surged, the word took on a more agreeable connotation and referred to cleanses using natural ingredients in the form of juices, soups and smoothies, which made us feel lighter, fitter and happier.
In recent times, many people have realised that a tech detox is the next step on the road to wellbeing. We have become so reliant on our electronic devices — laptops, mobile phones, tablets — as we use them for literally everything in our daily lives. From finding the quickest route to the office and reading the news to buying tickets and tracking our fitness levels; everything is at our fingertips.
It has made our life easier and we are able to get answers quicker. But, technology has a dark side that we are acutely aware of but perhaps find too difficult to give up.
Are You Addicted To Your Devices?
When we ask people this, the immediate answer is more often than not, a resounding “Of course not!” accompanied by a guilty look. If you’re not texting or checking social media, it’s playing a game or wading through the vast amount of information that you don’t need to know about.
1. FOMO (fear of missing out)
This millennial term is why so many of us are constantly on the phone. Between the chat applications and social media, we are now able to see what everyone is up to from friends on holiday to people we don’t even know at a party. It’s curtain twitching for the 21st century and it’s so much fun!
2. Two minutes turns into an hour
You get online with the sole intention of finding a hotel for your next holiday. Before you know it you’ve gone from hotel booking to reading horror stories about the destination and now an hour later, you’re doing a redundant quiz on Buzzfeed. How did that happen? Clickbait is a very powerful tool.
3. Must. Check. Phone
The smartphone was a game changer. Everything the user needed in terms of communication and information instantly available in the palm of your hand. But, this is where the digital addiction starts. There are people who are on their phone in the toilet, cinema, funerals, first dates — no place is sacred. The need to check the phone is more powerful than basic manners.
4. I know I’m addicted, but…
If you feel guilty that you’re spending too much time on a device, then you know there’s a problem. Like all addictions, it’s about instant gratification then regret when you see how long you were online and have gained nothing from the experience except that you now know one of the Kardashians is pregnant, or that you may have a brain tumour because you Googled your symptoms.
5. All that wasted time
A common effect of digital addiction is bringing the device to bed and spending hours on it. Without realising, it’s way past your bedtime and the guilt kicks in. Here’s a scary statistic – adults spend approximately an hour a day just on social media, while teens can spend up to a THIRD of their day chatting and on their various accounts. Where do they find the time to study, go outside or just interact with other humans outside the digital world?
If you read these five points and are guilty of even three of them, as most of us are, then it’s time for a digital detox. It will be difficult in the beginning but when you find that you sleep better, stop caring about what other people are doing, have a conversation over dinner and maybe pick up a book to read, it will be worth it.