Glued to your iPhone? Guilty as charged. Look around you, walk down the street, enter a restaurant, go shopping; people everywhere are staring at their smartphone screens. According to the annual Ofcom Media Attitudes Report 2016, UK adults spend, on average, 21.6 hours online each week (excluding work). We are checking our phones more than 150 times per day. Internet and social media addiction disorder, (read anxiety and depression), has become a very real mental health problem.
With the New Year upon us, and good intentions abounding, we chose our site of the week to be Time To Log Off
founded by award-winning digital entrepreneur, Tanya Goodin
. This site aims to revise our boundaries around technology, help us to reconnect with the real world and to fight the addictive lure of our iPhones. That doesn’t necessarily mean going cold turkey. Boundaries might mean a social media cull, no work email after 8pm or no phones in the bedroom and meal table.
Tanya’s site offers digital detox advice, hosts events and runs regular digital detox campaigns. They created the 5:2 Digital Diet which means no technology for two days a week. Could you do it? Its most recent campaign is the 30-Day challenge (which started on 2 January) ‘all about helping you develop a healthy relationship with your phone in 2017.’ Itstimetologoff.com will upload daily videos onto its YouTube channel to encourage followers.
TANYA'S TOP TIPS FOR THE 30-DAY CHALLENGE
1. Remove temptations: ‘Start thinking now of a good place to put your phone and tablet when you’re spending time offline during the 30 day challenge. It could be in a designated drawer, a cupboard, another room, or simply out of sight in your bag. It’s going to be a lot easier for you carrying out the challenges if your smartphone simply isn’t visible. Start thinking now of that ‘safe’ place.’
2. Commit to your digital detox challenge: ‘Making a commitment to doing the challenge and sharing it with family and friends will really help with your motivation and determination. Of course, if you want to keep it to yourself that’s fine too.’
3. Buy an alarm clock: ‘So often phones are encroaching on our rest and sleep time because they’re in our bedrooms. And they’re in our bedrooms because we use them as alarm clocks. So do yourself a favour and buy a cheap one before you start the challenge.’
RETREATS AND WORKSHOPS
Want to take your technology cleanse one step further? Tanya organises retreats and workshops encouraging guests to disconnect from digital devices, recharge your brain, emerge refreshed and rediscover life. Destinations for 2017 include Italy, Hawaii and Somerset. When guests arrive at each retreat, there is a ritual handing-in of phones, tablets, laptops, Fitbits, Kindles, game consoles and all screen-based tech. It’s time to unplug from Facebook, Instagram and email and to go off-grid. There is an emergency landline phone number that can be given but the aim is for guests to switch off from their usual tech-reliant ways.
Mindfulness is at the core of these retreats devised to wean us of our modern-day tech obsession. Instead of scrolling through our screens, this is the time to engage with and fully experience the present moment. Conversations about work or networking are discouraged, as the aim is to rediscover a new life/ work balance. There is no alcohol and the diet is mainly raw. It’s a time to give your body a detox mentally and physically and to recharge batteries through play and creativity. Activities include yoga, hiking, kite flying, art, dance, storytelling and playtime.
If you choose to do the 30-day challenge, share how you’re getting on using the #30daydigitaldetoxchallenge hashtag online.