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Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers. It is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world. Claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, better appreciation of one's environment and becoming more people-oriented.
We often relate addiction to drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and similar items but we think less of digital devices as sources of concern. In this present age, one can be blown away and easily lost in the whirlwind of technology as new versions of devices are developed even before we recover from the previous ones. The iPad, iPod, blackberry phones, and other smart devices overwhelm us with instant connectivity everywhere and anytime. However, the problem is not the technology itself but how we use it. We need a step away from devices and embrace life, we need to embrace the moment.
Digital detoxing is a growing phenomenon that serves as a reaction to the information overload coming with new media and digital connecting devices. Smartphones, laptops and tablets, combined with the increasing wireless Internet accessibility, enable technology users to constantly be connected to the digital world. Constant online connectivity may have a negative impact on the users’ experience with electronic connecting devices and result in a wish to temporarily refrain from communication technology usage.
The motivations behind digital detoxing vary. In some cases the motivation is negative emotional responses to the technology usage, such as dissatisfaction or disappointment of the technology device and its functions. In other cases, users see the technology as a distracting factor that consumes time and energy, and want to take back control over their everyday lives. Some people have moral, ethical or political reasons to refrain from technology usage, such as fear of violation of their privacy. Furthermore, a concern of developing addictive behavior in terms of tech addiction or Internet addiction disorder is one of the motivations for disconnecting for a period of time.
Constant engagement with digital connecting devices at the workplace is claimed to lead to increased stress levels and reduce productivity. Certain characteristics of the technology make it more difficult to distinguish work from leisure. Moreover, being continually connected increases the amount of interruptions at work. Allowing employees to disconnect for a part of the day in order to truly focus on their work without disturbance from colleagues is claimed to be beneficial to the productivity and work environment.
The connecting devices’ multitasking character has a serious impact on the learning ability. Multitasking implies operating on a surface level, which only involves the short-time memory. Using multiple connecting devices as learning platforms is therefore not beneficial. A reduction of information choices enables the brain to focus more on the quality of the information rather than the hastiness of it.
Other benefits of digital detox
- Good mental health: There is a growing concern among scientists that indulging in these ceaseless disruptions caused by digital devices is not good for our brains in much way that excessive sugar or fat and other things we tend to crave are not good for our bodies.
- Better human relationships: With digital detox, it is possible to maintain a better relationship. Many people have bad breakups because of a cultural shift from face-face communication and shorter attention span. Spending more time on social media platforms than interacting with people face-to-face in the physical world has a preventing effect on the development of communication and social skills.
- Increased Productivity: Mobile devices and gadgets often cause distractions at work leading to poor performance, carelessness, absent-mindedness and failure.
- Good Posture: The physical effect of too much technology will be reduced. Such effects include wrist, arm and shoulder pain, ears roaring, eye strain, and lack of sleep.
Digital detoxing is no longer a concept but a reality as people and organizations have started adopting it in order to achieve a balance in the digital age. Device-free events such as retreats and holiday camps are now been planned for people to get away and relax. One of such is the 2014 Shambhala ranch retreat which aims to create a serene atmosphere for guests with no work-talk, no internet, no phones, no networking and is a period of complete shut down of digital connectivity. Surprisingly, hotels guests at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise also pay as much as five hundred dollars a night to have their phones locked up.It is termed "electronic rehab getaways"  Echo valley ranch and spa also has a digital detox stress relief package which includes lots of exercises but no Wi-Fi, no TV and no cell phone reception. In an Outside magazine article titled "Reboot or Die Trying", Star political blogger for Grist.org, David Roberts, narrates his twelve months of digital detoxing. He had to unplug all digital devices for a whole year and he explained how this experience saved him from crashing.
According to a recent report  majority of people would rather go without food and other daily staples than be without their mobile devices, therefore digital detoxing is not as simple as it sounds. It takes determination and support from friends, colleagues and family to perfect one. Signs that you need a digital detox may include the following: lack of concentration, a feeling of irritation if separated from your device or when your battery is running low, looking at your phone first thing when you wake up, ignoring people while you are at your digital device, and reduced productivity resulting from overwhelming use of digital devices.
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