‘Can I use my phone?’, I hear you shout! Reaction to this Hint has been so strong, (especially from the younger generation!) that for Day 6, well, OK – but ONLY for calls. I chose the weekend for this particular challenge, but if you need to juggle it with another day, feel free, but please do give it a go.
Did you know that UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day on screens (more time than they are asleep)? The average user logs 1.72 hours a day on social media alone, and checks their smartphone 150 times a day (itstimetologgoff.com). Research links increased stress and depressive symptoms to both internet and Facebook use, and there is now an abundance of evidence out there suggesting that the way we human beings use technology is not to the advantage of our happiness or wellbeing.
I really appreciate that certain jobs and personal circumstances demand for tech to be turned on, and one to be contactable. I would, however, question (and ask you to) to what extent and when. I used to go round to see my parents and my mobile would be permanently with me – I’d be glancing at it throughout. “Mum, I’m running a busy TV company, I need to check my emails, I need to be online, you don’t understand.” But did I really? When I honestly look at my life, with clarity, was this genuinely true? Or was it (most of the time) actually a bad habit I had got into; an unnecessary distraction, that merely took away from time with my family? What was supposed to be ‘me time’ was now far from it (and it was rude!).
Almost all of us agree that when used wisely technology, and media, are wonderful in so very many ways: strengthening relationships, sharing knowledge, creating curiosity, rallying for causes – the list is endless. Yet still a 2015 survey concluded “Technology is making British people unhappy”. It can lead to distorted reality, users comparing themselves with others negatively (see tomorrow’s Hint!), increased stress levels, feelings of isolation and very importantly not living in the present moment (yesterday’s Hint!). Also, the blue light emitting from screens has been proven to negatively affect sleep.
Author, Pico Iyer, writes beautifully about the Art of Stillness (the title of his book), and says, “Almost everybody I know has this sense of overdosing on information and getting dizzy living at post-human speeds”; so for one day, give yourself some space and ditch those devices. Which as my friend and close colleague, TimD, pointed out to me when I did it, means we won’t be touching base again today!
Please click here for further research on Digital Detox.