It is hard to believe that 2020 already has one week under its belt and it is that time of year when it seems like everyone around us is talking about the diet they are embarking on or the goals they are setting for themselves and their families. A popular New Year’s resolution has been a “digital detox”. This is when you or your family decides to “cleanse” themselves from overusing technology. Now, before you give up before we even start, I know that technology is a necessity for most of us, from navigation to phone calls to managing work emails, so there is no way we can completely abandon technology. This kind of detox is for what I like to call the top of the food pyramid technology use. You know, the not so good for you social media – video streaming, youtube rabbit holes, any mindless technology use that can be equated to the junk food at the top of the food pyramid.
The purpose of a digital detox is to review habits and re-establish or establish a healthy balance with your technology usage. By the end of this journey you will likely experience a decrease in your desire to engage in the “unhealthy” technology, much like when you reduce your sugar intake, eventually your taste buds change and you crave it less and less. But beware, this will not happen overnight and definitely takes some time and dedication. Here is how I suggest you get started.
First, the most important part of starting your digital detox is to set a goal and focus on why you are embarking on your digital detox. Much like a diet with food, you have to examine what you want to change and create a game plan for how to accomplish your goal. If you want to eat less cookies, you should probably buy fruit instead of cookies, like with technology to reduce your “bad” tech use, you have to replace that behavior with something a little more healthy. Why not join that book club you’ve been talking about or clean out that closet that has been haunting you since New Years of 2019? What works even better is if you take this on as a family challenge and create new traditions or activities that you can do together, like a Tech Free Tuesday or Monopoly Monday.
Also, it is super important to be mindful about why you are wanting to detox and look at your long term goals. If you can’t take the whole picture into account your digital detox might become like your fad diet and become inconsequential in a matter of weeks. After a few weeks you should examine what has become harder or more challenging in your life with less technology use and what has become easier. Maybe you are able to focus on tasks longer and are not pulled away to check social media as much. Looking at these situations can show you where you actually need technology in your life and where it was just the sugary, fatty upper part of the food pyramid that you can definitely survive with less.