In this digital age of online shopping, 4D movies, navigational systems, and social media stalking, we spend more time a day on high-tech devices than we do asleep: 8 hours and 21 minutes to be exact. This growing reliance on technology is taking us down a fast track to becoming mindless robots, fully incapable of functioning without our industrial gadgets. The initial purpose of technology was to serve mankind, but it can hurt us. That’s why more health experts are recommending periodic digital detox or an extended period without gadgets. We agree and have compiled a list of the top health benefits of a digital detox.
Digital addiction may go unnoticed but it is real, interfering with daily life. A large chunk of mobile phone users (28%) admit they do not drive as safely as they should while they use their cell phones. A whopping 83% of American teenagers claim to play video games while other people are in the same room. And as far as the internet goes, 92% of teens report to going online daily, and 24% of those users access the internet via laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Taking a break teaches us that we can live without constant stimulation, and lessens our dependence on electronics.
Reduce depression and anxiety
Too much of anything is bad for you. The same goes for technology. Research shows a positive correlation between immoderate technology use and anxiety. Anxiety is tied to the dopamine release we get when we receive stimulants like social media notifications or text messages. This, in turn, encourages pleasure-seeking or validation-seeking behavior, which creates an environment for mental distress. Research has also shown that utilizing digital devices for avoidance purposes is another important factor in technology-related anxiety and depression.
Be more personable
Another benefit to keeping all your electronics off is that it will allow you to establish good mannerisms and people skills. If you have ever sat across someone at the dinner table who made more phone contact than eye contact, you might know exactly what I’m talking about. Cell phones and other gadgets allow people to look down and away from their surroundings, giving them a closed off and inaccessible demeanor. A digital detox has the potential of forcing you out of that unhealthy comfort zone.
In a Forbes study, 3 out of 5 people claimed that they spend more time on their digital devices than they do with their partners. This can pose a threat to building and maintaining real-life relationships. The next time you find yourself going out on a dinner date, try leaving your cell phone and other devices at home. Your significant other will thank you.
Increase work productivity
Although technological advancements have aided the progression of many companies, employees are spending too much time on technology. Studies show that the average office worker wastes at least a third of the day due to technology. A recent study reveals 60% of employers need to consult with at least 10 employees a day to get their work done. Technology has grand benefits in the workplace, but the amount of time spent opening emails, checking personal facebook pages, and responding to text messages could be greatly reduced if a cutback took place.
A 2009 study found that over 90% of students believe it’s rude to use cell phones inside movie theaters, but even so, a quarter of them continue to do so. The distracting light radiating from your seat poses an annoyance to everyone around you, decreasing your public likability. The distractions caused by digital devices (such as light and sound) can be irritable to others around you. Instead of reaching for your phone in movie theaters, on the treadmill at the gym, or in line at grocery stores, try turning it off and keep the public peace.
Make children active
The decline in physical activity, especially in children, is worsening with the advancement of digital media. Kids don’t play outside as much as they used to. While today’s youth play outside for less than 5 hours each weekend, kids growing up before the 1990’s played outside for an average of 9 hours each weekend. Digital devices can be given a large chunk of the blame for this decline. Technology plays a huge role in kids’ lives today, and some may argue too big of a role. A great way to promote a more active lifestyle for children is to set limitations on their technology access. And going on a digital detox is a great way to lead your kids by example.
It’s no surprise that a large chunk of everyone’s paycheck is designated for cell phone companies, TV companies, and wifi companies. If you are struggling with your monthly bill payments or saving money, you should consider going on a hiatus from all technology. This detox will have you and your wallet in for a pleasant surprise.
Promote better sleep
The sleep interference caused by these high-tech gadgets is another cause for psychological distress. The distress caused by artificial light causes you to feel more awake than you really are, which can potentially interfere with your sleep quality. It is recommended that you give yourself at least two hours to a technology-free time before bedtime.
Promote healthy eating habits
The Rochester Institute of Technology released a study that revealed students are more likely to eat while staring into digital media than they are at a dinner table. This means that eating has now become a multi-tasking activity, rather than a social and loving experience. This can prevent students from eating consciously, which can promote unhealthy eating habits such as overeating. Whether you’re an overworked college student checking your Facebook, or a single bachelor watching reruns of The Office, a digital detox is a great way to promote healthy and conscious eating.