I must admit, I don’t appreciate the new iPhone update. You know the one, where your screen tells you how much time you spent on it. “Your screen time is up 23% from last week.” It’s almost like Netflix asking if I’m still watching The Office after 4 hours…
I’d like to say my phone says my screen time has gone down, but the majority of the time it tells me I’ve been on my phone more and more. I’m not proud of it, but in this digital age, I can’t say I’m surprised.
While I don’t love my phone reminding me how much I depend on it, it is a great reminder of the importance of unplugging from technology.
Is Technology Addiction Real?
While there is no medical term for technology addiction, many psychologists and people alike will tell you yes, it is absolutely real! And if you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced it yourself, or have seen others overtaken by technology.
Research shows that the average American adult spends 11 hours a day in the digital world, 11 hours! (1) When you’re spending your time in the digital world, you’re not actively present in the real world which can negatively impact your experiences and relationships. This is why disconnecting from technology is more important now more than ever.
Benefits Of Unplugging From Technology
Social media can be fun, video games are entertaining, and getting my news quickly is easier than ever before with the internet. But unplugging from technology has its perks, and it’s actually more important than you think. When you disconnect from technology, many things can happen, from your physical state, to your mental health. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of disconnecting from technology!
1. Improves mental health
Research has shown that young adults who engage in various social media platforms have higher rates of depression and anxiety. (2) When you’re constantly looking at others’ lives on social media, it can spark feelings of envy, jealousy, or dissatisfaction with your own life. This is because you’re seeing what others have that you might not, or what they are doing that you are not. But remember, people put their absolute best stuff out there when it comes to social media, and it might not always be true. Whether this means editing their pictures to make themselves look better, or posting about things that maybe haven’t happened, you can’t always believe what you see. In other words, social media is a highlight reel and very rarely portrays the real-life struggles and hardships we all experience. Social media, and other avenues of technology, are not always an accurate representation of someone’s life. When unplugging from technology, try focusing on what you are grateful for, and work on not comparing yourself to others.
2. Psychological functioning
I don’t know about you, but I feel almost lost when I don’t have my phone in my hand. It’s almost become second nature to bring it with me everywhere I go, and I mean everywhere. At times I find myself looking at it when I’m having in-person conversations, or reaching for it during a meeting. Research has shown that the constant use of technology has actually shortened our attention spans, and I can attest to that. (3) Due to technology, it can be hard for us to stay focused, so much so, that our attention spans have actually shortened to a mere 8 seconds! (4) Unplugging from technology allows us to focus on one thing at a time. Try placing your phone where you aren’t able to see it during meetings, or put your phone on silent when you’re having a conversation with someone. My new rule? No phones at the dinner table! This simple task of disconnecting from technology while we eat dinner as a family has allowed for more in-depth conversations, and my household absolutely loves it!
3. Improved physical health
I’ve never had amazing posture, but since technology, I can say with confidence that it has gotten worse. Hunched over a computer for hours, or laying in bed on your phone can cause our bodies to experience strain. Not to mention the damage that staring at a screen can cause on your eyes. When you disconnect from technology, you’re also allowing yourself more time to do physical activities. Rather than scrolling for hours on Facebook, try an activity outdoors, like hiking. Since I have allowed myself to disconnect from technology more and more, I find myself feeling more motivated to workout and stay active.
How To Detox From Technology
Ready to get started? Here are a few things you can do today to start forming new healthy habits!
- Put your phone away when out to eat or during meals.
- When you sign off your computer from work, stay off for the rest of the night.
- Read or write in a journal
- Go for a hike
- Write a letter to a relative or friend
The Verdict: Does Disconnecting From Technology Matter?
I have experienced noticeable differences in my life and in my relationships when I allow myself to unplug from technology. When you disconnect from technology, you’re giving yourself a mental detox.
Taking a break from technology can be hard, trust me, I get it, but allowing yourself that break is allowing yourself to work on your mental and physical health, and I hope these simple pointers will help get you there!