Welcome to a three-part series on quick self-improvement goals. Since the path to self-improvement can begin any time, why not do something to better yourself this fall? The first installment attacked the dreaded coffee addiction; this installment suggests a digital detox.
Technology changed the way everyone everywhere lives their lives. But digital dependency–whether it’s to our phones, tablets, TVs or whatever–is on the rise. Start a digital detox this fall and find the balance between tech and life beyond the screen.
The Rising Cases of Technology Addiction and Dependency
Technology has become a vital part of people’s daily lives for decades. In a 2023 survey on tech and internet usage, people spend at least 40% of their waking life online. On a daily average, every person devotes six hours and 53 minutes to their smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
In another report on Internet usage, over 8% of people worldwide have internet and technology addiction. But unlike most addiction cases, not everyone knows whether their online activities are still within the standard usage boundaries. This is due to how the world depends on technology for almost every task they do. Communicating, socializing, working, and even shopping are now more convenient with tech and internet connection, making it easier for people to get addicted to it without noticing the difference.
In addition, the Pew Research Center recorded that 85% of Americans are online daily. But worse than that, at least 31% of the nation is in cyberspace almost 24/7. The growing number of internet users and their longer screen time are another massive red flag on the rising technology addiction cases.
The Dark Side of Technology Use and Emergence of Digital Detox
Although there are clear advantages to the digital age, every user of these tech advancements should understand that those benefits come at a cost. The disadvantages of the internet affect society as a whole and the individual’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Here are some of the notable downsides of living in a digital world.
- Information overload
- Too much multitasking
- Shorter attention spans
- Privacy issues
- Criminal violations
To counter the increasing problems with technology and internet addiction, many health experts recommend digital detox.
Digital detox, in its simplest terms, is taking a break from electronic devices and social media usage for a definite time. The period can take a few days, weeks, or even several months, and they heavily depend on the person’s situation and needs. In addition, people can also personalize the specifics of their digital detox, including what they ban and include while undergoing the process.
People should consider taking a digital detox if they’re experiencing any of the following.
- Low self-esteem
- Sleeping problems or insomnia
- Weight gain
- Unhealthy eating
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of focus
- Extreme stress
Getting glued to the screen for an unhealthy number of hours daily takes a heavy toll on one’s quality of life. In addition, it overloads the senses, which can affect a person’s mental and physical health. Taking a step back from these distractions, people can start reconnecting with themselves and heal better.
Digital Detox Benefits
People do a digital detox for several reasons. Some do it after an instinctual realization of needing to disconnect from the digital world. Others add them to their schedules to maintain screen and real-life balance, while some do it after a consultation with a health expert regarding their addiction. Either way, digital detox offers numerous benefits. Here are some of them.
A Boost in Your Mental Health
One study showed that one in five Americans get stressed when using technology. Internet users who stay online for more than six hours a day reported even higher stress levels. Due to these results, researchers concluded that people spending more time on social media and online have fewer in-person interactions per day. This imbalance between screen and real-life socialization then affects one’s mental health.
During a digital detox, people limit most of their negative interactions, which often happen online. Due to this, they can easily focus on themselves, lowering their stress levels and helping regain their self-esteem, which is the most notable reason behind depression and anxiety in many internet addicts and users.
One of the most notable downsides of technology is how it can keep you awake 24/7. During bedtime, the brain produces high levels of melatonin, or sleep hormone, that helps a person fall asleep. But during the day, the sun provides blue light, which suggests to your brain to lessen melatonin production.
The thing with digital screens, like smartphones and tablets, is the blue light they emit while in use. The more you use your phone before bed, the more it keeps your brain from producing melatonin and makes you awake most of the night.
Digital detox helps reset your sleeping patterns. Without electronic devices and social media during nighttime, the brain produces melatonin as it should, ensuring an undisturbed, restful sleep.
Builds Stronger Bonds
Internet and technology addiction can disconnect a user from their family and friends. In a study on internet addiction, researchers found one out of three people admitted that they were less likely to meet with family and friends in person due to technology.
Technology’s toll on relationships isolates the person, making it easier for them to suffer from depression and anxiety. But with digital detox, people can improve their mental well-being and reconnect with those who matter the most.
Don’t forget the book that lays out the principles of goal-achievement and attaining a Bold Life!