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Are we all in need of a ‘digital detox’?

October 1, 2019

It goes without saying that we all spend too much time on our phones. I know I’m not the only person that finds myself going down the YouTube rabbit hole – innocently searching for the trailer of a new film I’ve seen coming out and then finding myself an hour later watching cat videos.

According to RescueTime research, people spend on average three hours and 15 minutes on their phone every day, with the top 20 per cent of smartphone users spending upwards of four and a half hours. We also pick up our phones 58 times a day, on average. Given nearly everything we do today is online, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it does make you wonder how much time you spend on your own phone and whether this is having an impact on your wellbeing?

A huge trend at the moment is the idea of a ‘digital detox,’ where you refrain from using an electronic device for a period of time, to reduce stress and have more social interactions. Google recently announced its Digital Wellbeing tool, stating that technology should “improve life, not distract from it.” Once you complete the questionnaire – which helps you understand how you use your device – it provides you with some tips on how to improve your digital wellbeing.

The BBC also recently launched its digital wellbeing app, Own It, which is aimed specifically at children. It uses AI to monitor interactions and, for example, offer support to children who are about to send a sensitive image or an upsetting message. It also has its own content that aims to help children manage the amount of time they spend on their device. This follows recent news that half of parents want schools to ban mobiles.

Whether or not digital detoxes are beneficial to your health has sparked somewhat of a controversial debate, not least because, reportedly, the evidence to back it up is questionable. It does feel like a new ‘fad’ and everyone’s trying to jump on the bandwagon, but I can’t see any negatives of doing a digital detox, or helping your digital wellbeing – particularly if it can support children who are being born into a world surrounded by technology.

TAGS: Technology