Technology simplifies tasks as diverse as researching university projects and reconnecting with far-flung family.
And social media and mobile phones are so pervasive that they permeate almost every aspect of existence.
But when tech eclipses rather than enhances life, it’s time to take a break — here are 10 reasons for a digital detox.
1. Reducing anxiety
According to US academics, leaving Facebook can reduce your anxiety. The study showed that deactivating the app freed up an hour of time for the average user, made them socialise more with friends and family and led to greater life satisfaction.
2. Catching the moments
Apart from the safety hazards of being glued to a mobile screen while walking around, it makes you miss the mindful benefits of remaining ‘in the moment’ — being truly present for someone you care about or literally stopping to smell the roses in your garden.
3. Getting a good sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light from mobiles, laptops and TVs disrupts your circadian rhythm, inhibits production of sleepy hormone melatonin and makes falling asleep much harder.
4. Focusing on face to face
Spending much of your time physically removed from real people and mostly interacting on social media might mean that your social skills suffer, and you feel out of sorts in arenas where soft skills are prized — such as the workplace.
5. Smartphones might make us dumb down
There’s academic evidence that smartphone proximity reduces cognitive capacity. Researchers have found a significant improvement in someone’s ability to hold and process data when their phone is in another room.
6. Digital hoarding is damaging
Hoarding thousands of emails, photos, lecture notes and slide show presentations might make us feel more anxious and out of control. But according to Healthline, clearing out clouds and inboxes has the same cathartic benefits as a physical spring clean.
7. Oversharing can cost friendships
Reaching out on social media can be a lifeline in times of crisis. But research by psychologist Stephen Rains suggests that oversharing through superficial self-disclosures can create distance and dissatisfaction in previously close friendships.
8. Projecting personas can be negative
Even if you’re incredibly self-aware, it’s hard to defy the convention that the social media space is a curated highlight reel where a persona you project lives the life you wish you had. Real life is less sanitised and stylised, but (hopefully) more substantive and satisfying.
9. Improving your social life
Switching your tech off temporarily might make you seek interactions elsewhere, with flesh and blood humans. You might even rediscover old-school social networks like the gym, park or local pub.
10. Cranking up creativity
When a lack of inspiration means you’re struggling to start your latest blog or formulate a fantastic elevator pitch, spending solo time away from electronic chatter gets the creative juices flowing — whether you find your muse tree bathing in a forest or cycling in the country.
Tech has its place and the pros probably outweigh the cons. But whether you decide on a weekly digital sabbath, month-long tech sabbatical or unplug permanently from one of your social media platforms, it might make life more rounded and real.
If you’re fascinated by the ways tech intersects with society, forge a new career path by taking an online digital marketing degree.
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