Hope you all are trying to make your lockdown period as productive as possible in your own ways based on your own individual interests and likes. But is the COVID-19 lockdown making us do something that we need to relook at? Probably yes. A recent Indian survey is sure to make us sit up and rethink.
Conducted by Hammerkopf Consumer Survey, it finds that amidst the lockdown, we are spending more than four hours every day on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Before the lockdown, the figure hovered around 2 and a half hours. The survey also found that people are mostly watching news and communicating with friends and family.
It is understandable that social solidarity becomes more important when physical distancing becomes a compulsion and platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp help us maintain social intimacy at a safe distance. But the big question is how much of it is healthy? Is it necessary to draw a line somewhere?
The point being- “Digital Detox”.
The basic meaning of the term “Digital Detox” is a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
Why are many of us so addicted to our devices? According to a BBC report, it’s all to do with something called “Dopamine”.
The article said: “Broadly speaking, tech design seeks to take advantage of our brains’ reward system, where something called Dopamine is activated and leads to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure.
“Our brains are programmed to seek more of whatever gives us this pleasure – so much so that we crave it when we don’t have it. The same system that makes us crave drugs or certain foods can also make us crave particular apps, games, sites and devices.”
First step is to know how addicted are you? We need to first of all think of this digital detox as Food diet plan. Like for the food diet plan to work, first of all we pause and be self aware about our consumption level, our eating habits.etc. and then we take a resolution to plan our diet, in the same manner, we need to first be aware about the volume of our time being spent on gadgets nowadays.
Just take a pause while you read this and think about your today’s mobile laptop usage hours till now. I am sure you are shocked after your gadgets usage hours calculation! Almost double for most of the readers I guess.
According to a survey by AMEX (formerly American Express), four, out of several other signs of digital addiction are:
- Your phone is the first thing you reach for in the morning, and you scroll your social media accounts before getting out of bed.
- You feel anxious and irritable if you are in a location with no Wi-Fi or phone signal.
- You feel stressed when your phone is out of reach, and you hear it buzz with a notification.
- Checking your phone is the last thing you do before going to sleep.
If the above sounds like you, or you simply feel the need for a break from technology, read on because there are steps you can take to seize back some control.
Steps to Digital Detox:
Self-Motivation:Deciding to do a digital detox can be a big decision. You may worry about what you’ll miss by logging out. You might even wonder what you’ll do with your time. You can do a digital detox if you remind yourself of all the good reasons why you should take this time to log off and unplug.
- Make a list of three to five things you want to try to get done during your detox time.For instance, you might write that you want to work in your garden, organize your closets, or catch up with old friends.
- Remind yourself of the benefits of the detox. For example, tell yourself, “I’ll feel more relaxed, in tune with myself, and in tune with my family and friends.”
- Tell yourself that the detox will give you a break from some of the information-overload you may be feeling.
Choose when to detox: Although you may want to start your digital detox right now, you should think about the timing of your detox first. Deciding to log off during a peak time may not be best decision. Choose a time when you have fewer responsibilities and when there will be less consequences for missing a message or two.
Think through the logistics: You may not realize all the ways in which you depend on your smartphone and other devices in your day-to-day life. For instance, if you use your phone as an alarm, do you have an alarm clock you can use while you detox? If you want to listen to music during the detox, do you have a radio?
Before your detox, try to note all the different ways in which you rely on your devices and think of other ways to meet your needs. You may also need to think about how you will do this if your family is not participating in the detox.
What will you do if everyone is watching TV? Do you have a digital-free area where you can retreat to read or work on a craft project? How will you fill your time and avoid the temptation when other people are using their devices?
Decide how long to detox: Deciding how long to detox will help you plan for it and anticipate any issues that may come up during your detox time. Consider your responsibilities and obligations. How long can you digitally detox without getting behind in your work? Think about people that depend on you. Ask yourself if there is anything you would need to do online for them during this time.
Give advance notice: If you are including work or school in your digital detox, you may need to let others know what you are doing. This way they can let you know what’s going on and you won’t miss messages about major deadlines or other important information.
Log out of Social Networks: Nothing can ruin a digital detox or any peaceful time like an electronic device that’s beeping, binging, and chirping every two minutes. Staying logged in will make it easy for you to quickly turn on your device, especially if you have widgets, and check your social networking updates. Logging out and turning off all notifications for social media can help you stick with your detox.
- You don’t need to disable your account, but you can log out of the app on your device. You can log back in once your digital detox is over.
- Make sure you know your login information before you log out of the app.
- Turn off your alerts and notifications if you can’t or don’t want to log out of your apps.
Put your electronic devices out of reach: When your device is right by your side you may be tempted to check it to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Keeping your phone, tablet, or laptop at a distance will make it easier for you to do a digital detox.
- Remember this-“out of sight, out of mind.” Put your device in a closet, drawer, or somewhere out of sight.
- If you need to, ask a family member or close friend to keep your device for you during your digital detox.
Make the most out of your Detox time: You can do various things like helping someone, meditate and relax, read a book or article on newspaper, go to your balcony and enjoy nature for a while, take preventive measures and communicate with people nearby.etc. or simply spend time with your family!
Easing back to the Digital World:
Always remember- “Digital detox doesn’t mean strict abstinence, it means moderation. “
- Ease yourself back into the digital world by Logging in one app at a time. This way you won’t become overwhelmed by the information and entertainment. It will also give you the opportunity to think about which social networks, apps, and games and actually want and need to use. Start by logging back into your primary email account. Prioritize your messages and respond to those you need to.
- After your detox, try setting limits for your digital time. This way you can avoid getting caught up in the never-ending cycle of emails, alerts, updates, and posts.
- You will get the most benefit out of your digital detox if you make it something that you do more than once. You don’t have to do a full detox for a day or more, though. Doing a mini detox, even for just an hour or two, might help you briefly recharge and relax!!
Finally, I stop here as its now my time for Digital Detox! and I would request you to at least try once and see the results for yourself. I think even an hour or two of the detox time would be a good start!!
Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay home!!
CA Ayush Khetan