The digital age makes it easy to stay connected.
Whether it’s to chat with friends in another part of the world or to conduct meetings simultaneously with teams across continents, technology makes it easier.
But people are increasingly questioning the heavy use of digital technologies.
A study in the UK found 34% of adult internet users actively seek offline time: of these, 44% said they wanted to do other things in life and 38% wanted to spend more time with their friends and family instead.
480 million times.
That’s the number of times Australians interact with their smartphones in a day1.
Are you able to put your phone away for an hour?
Are you able to disconnect from social media for one whole day?
Are you texting when you should be calling?
Write down five possible symptoms of your digital overindulgence.
If those things are affecting your personal, social or work life in a negative way, it's maybe time to change some habits.
What the data says
Research is ongoing around the impact of technology use.
Digital devices such as smartphones that emit short-wavelength blue light affect the body’s production of melatonin, the substance that controls circadian rhythm and sleep patterns in humans.
One study found that people who use light-emitting devices before going to bed took longer to fall asleep due to higher alertness, had less REM sleep, took longer to wake-up and were sleepier in the morning.
The same study showed that chronic lack of sleep can contribute over time to health issues such as diabetes and depression.
So if you're finding it hard to switch of your devices and get some shut eye, action is needed.
If you struggle to spend time offline, then it may be that you're addicted to your phone or laptop.
Research has shown that internet addiction is real, whether around specific activities like gaming and shopping, or generalized forms like internet browsing or social media.
Breaking the habit
Take these seven simple steps to reduce your web dependence.
- Prior to bed, avoid using screens for at least an hour so your body can prepare to sleep. If you need to work or study, install a blue-light filtering app on your phone - such as Twilight or f.lux – so your sleep pattern is not as affected.
- If you’re struggling with impulsive digital use, it might help to adjust the home screen of your phone or tablet to hide the apps that are particular time-wasters. A good desktop app that helps with control is StayFocusd.
- When you’re commuting and would prefer to work, find other options such as reading up or writing down notes.
- If you can, conveniently call and talk to friends and family rathen than texting.
- This might be challenging but avoid taking the phone into the toilet.
- Get your partner or friend to do the detox with you.
- Take a digital detox holiday and go somewhere you can't access the internet for a weekend or longer.
- Have a month long break from social media.
Going through these simple steps will help you find more time and attention for yourself, your friends and family.
1Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016