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Digital Detox – Do we need a digital timeout?

We wake up to the sound of our smartphone alarm and go to sleep in front of the laptop. It is normal now for modern technologies to accompany us throughout the day. But for many people this 'always-on' mentality is getting too much. They yearn for a digital detox. 

 
 

Digital Detox – Do we need a digital timeout?

We wake up in the morning to the sound of our smartphone alarm and go to sleep in the evening in front of the laptop. It is normal now for modern technologies to accompany us throughout the day. But for many people 'always-on' mentality is getting too much. They yearn for a digital detox. 

Digital detox means very deliberately foregoing digital media for a while. Something like an analog timeout. Whether you radically cut out all screens or just some aspects of the digital world is up to you. No matter in what shape or form – this trend appears to be popular. 44% of the respondents of a survey by the digital association Bitkom stated that they had already tried a digital detox.1

When it gets really hard

If you need help with your 'fasting', you can get it from an unusual source: "Digital detox? There's an app for that!" This sounds like a contradiction in terms but apparently it actually helps many users. Apps like "Digital Detox Challenge" take a playful approach to renunciation. The app sets the smartphone to flight mode for a specified period of time. If you want to go online before the time expires, you need to pay a virtual fee. Similar to fitness apps, there is even a leader board for the most successful detoxers.2 If a few hours without smartphone are not enough for you, you might like the latest trend from the US. So-called detox holidays combine internet withdrawal with wellness. The program features massages, facials, yoga, and meditation. No Smartphones allowed.3

Body and mind benefit

But do detoxes actually do any good? Scientists say 'Yes'. Neck pain, increased strain on the eyes, reduced attention span, stress, and depression – all those are symptoms of excessive technology consumption. Our sleep habits also suffer. The blue light of screens prevent the body from forming melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone. One should generally not use electronics before going to bed. If you have the internet at your fingertips at all times in the form of a smartphone, your problem-solving skills might also suffer. Why try to figure something out if you can just Google it? Smartphone detox promotes the creativity and productivity of its users. Another important aspect: constant smartphone use has a negative effect when spending time with friends and family. It is much nicer when everybody is not gazing at their mobile phones but rather into each other's faces.4

The right balance

Detox literally means "poison removal". Referring to technology as poison might be taking it one step too far. When using smartphones and Co. responsibly, they can make our lives a lot easier. But a detox can help you become more mindful of your digital life. The goal should be to find the right balance between online and offline.

1 bitkom.org
2 blog.euromonitor.com
3 zeit.de
4 getvoip.com
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