Time for a Digital Detox by Tony Ogunlowo
New Year, new resolutions.
There was a time when only a few influential people had a telephone, at home, in the neighborhood. There was also a time when you had to wait for a thing called a letter to arrive by post before you knew what was happening in the lives of your friends and relatives in the far flung reaches of the world. There was also a time when you had to wait for the national news, at 9, to know what was going on in the country and elsewhere. There was also a time when you had to rely on whatever the newspapers churned out.
The advent of the digital age has made all these things relics of the past. We live in a wired global village, now, where everything is instantaneous.
Nowadays most people have at least one cellular phone and with our modern global telecommunication networks the user can be contacted anywhere they may be in the world. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter mean we can stay in touch with anyone in the world, in real-time, instead of waiting for the post to arrive.
We can see the news, now, in real-time as it happens because someone, out there, other than a journalist or news reporter, is recording events on their phones and relaying it through the web to countless recipients worldwide.
The invention of the smartphone has had us glued to our phones 247. We can’t wait to update our Facebook pages, send out a succession of messages on Twitter or catch up on the latest video clips on YouTube. This of course is in addition to our endless chatter.
We do everything online now; we shop, date, socialize and conduct all our business, personal and professional, online.
Some people have invariably become slaves to the digital world and the loss of their smartphones, tablets, laptops or access to the internet can lead to severe disruptions in their lives.
Sometimes too much information can lead to an information overload and sooner or later will lead to new ailments creeping into lives – repetitive strain injury, eye strain, chronic headaches and brain fatigue to just a few.
It’s time for a digital detox. Time to switch off the phones, tablets and laptops and pick up a good book and read. Time to come off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like and actually go out and meet people. Time to quit the lazy-armchair-online-shopping-thing and actually go out shopping in physical shops.
How would we cope if the internet and digital networks went down and we’re unable to use our cell phones or go online?
Our reliance on the digital world is becoming more and more overwhelming by the day and we need to take a step back to reduce our reliance.
To do a digital detox try and do the following as often as possible:
- 1, Get off Facebook and other social media platforms or use them sparingly. Try and do a simple thing like going out and actually meeting people. There’s more to life than a virtual world!
- 2, Keep internet usage to a minimum. This is a rule that should apply not just to kids but also adults. There are other forms of entertainment out there besides online gaming and gawking at a succession of funny YouTube videos. Books still exist, pick up one and read it. Get a new hobby, join a gym or go for a walk.
- 3, Have a specific time each day for checking emails, newscasts and blogs. I check my inbox first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon and not throughout the day as some do. This is time wasting.
- 4, Try and put your smartphone on ‘silent’ so the urge to look at it each time it beeps is greatly reduced.
- 5, Get rid of all the useless timewasting apps you have on your smartphones and tablets(-IPhone and IPad users are the most guilty ones here!). In a day you waste so much time fiddling with your apps and playing games.
- 6, Try and ban yourself from using your phone for extended periods of time. I know it’s important to stay in contact 247 but do you really need to stay glued to it all day long gossiping with Mama Mulika? No!
We should be Masters of the technology and not slaves to it. Recent tests have shown that our obsession with the digital world is detrimental to our health. Studies have shown that it leads to an increase in our stress levels. We feel fidgety and it affects our brains because we’re processing vast amounts of information all the time, not to talk of other digital world related ailments.
Take it easy and take a digital detox.