When thinking of a “detox” to achieve weight loss or get a leg up on health, you may envision fresh-pressed juices, multicolored pill capsules, or several other unusual potions. But a newer detox has hit the scene, in a much different form, to encourage the reduction of screen time. Also known as a “digital detox,” its promotion may connect to both physical and mental health in a roundabout way. But what is a digital detox and why might you try it?
The Rise of Electronics
The term “screen time” encompasses the amount of time spent utilizing all types of electronic devices, including television, cellphones, tablets, computers, and radios. Through the evolution of entertainments throughout each electronic outlet – Netflix subscriptions, social media accounts, etc. – the enticement of screen time only draws its users not more towards them, but also for longer periods of time. On average, the average U.S. adult spends 10 hours and 39 minutes on some sort of screen, comprising slightly less than half their day! But electronic use is well beyond observed in the adult population, but further passed down onto children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 18 months should only be able to use video chat while children over 18 months should include higher-quality apps and limit screen time to avoid its impendence on healthy behaviors.
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is exactly what you would imagine, switching off all electronics and mobile devices. At minimum, the digital detox should last for 24 hours, or a day’s worth of time. Considering the average of time devoted to electronics (a little under half a day), unplugging from such devices opens up a wide window of opportunity for other responsibilities or life’s desires. Although simply pushing the “off” button may seem mindless, it may be difficult to disconnect from the world’s technological devices. To start the process with ease, consider the following:
Though a digital detox is encouraged at all lengths of time, starting out on a weekend or nearing downtime or holidays may allow you to ease into the unplugged world. Prior to the detox, let others know via email or social media outlets. A quick and simple automated response can further fill others in on your new, ambitious journey. Further planning out digitally-free activities can assist in the ease, offering you some sort of structure and guidance following the initial unplugging.
The plans have been set and it is time to follow through! With the anticipation built, log off and unplug all media and devices. It may feel discomforting at first, and you may feel the urge to throw in the towel altogether, but stay strong and move on!
Relish the Unplugged Freedom
Okay, you may not feel so “free” in the early digital detox stage, but take a few breathers and embrace the disconnect. When time is diverted from checking –mails, watching the newest season of your favorite shows, or scrolling through social media accounts, a huge window of opportunity has just been opened. Embrace the unplugged freedom and enjoy time to yourself or with loved ones.
Logging Back On
You did it! You accomplished the recommended 24-hour (or longer) digital detox. Though individuals may feel motivated to totally ignore or limit future screen time, others may feel ready to reconnect. Log back onto accounts in a slow manner to avoid feeling overwhelmed with multiple emails and a long newsfeed on social media.
Why You Should Try a Digital Detox
The most revered reasoning for unplugging from electronics largely points to reconnecting to the world without the reliance of technology. As mentioned, a large amount of time is continually devoted to screen time, limiting occasions to connect to life in a richer, purer form. A digital detox essentially transcends screen time towards higher productivity and rawer life moments in both children and adults. Detaching from electronics can allow you to reconnect with loved ones and even yourself, producing memories and enhancing mental health.
But is there a link between screen time and health? Most health experts would exclaim “Absolutely!” especially with the presence of justified statistics of both physical and mental health conditions and disorders. It is no subjective doubt the U.S. population has become more sedentary while weight and associated chronic disease continues to grow, whilst mental conditions (such as depression and anxiety) are also heightened. Time unattached to electronics can be time towards an endless supply of opportunities, including health-related opportunities to meal prep, increase exercise, sleep, and practice stress-relieving techniques. It further allows you greater time to spend on hobbies you have always enjoyed doing. So tackle a digital detox, spread out the important message of its undertaking, and help combat the infectious technology addiction and obesity epidemic. What will you do with your digitally-free time?