Digital addiction, or nomophobia, may not be in the DSM-5, but there’s little doubt that it exists. And there are plenty of helpful hints around about how to self-detox.
Time To Log Off proposes a periodic 5:2 digital diet: five days using technology and two days off-screen. It’s not clear whether they include television or streaming Netflix for (family, or social) entertainment, but they definitely mean abstaining from email and social media. They even suggest deleting these apps from your phone or laptop to remove temptation to log on, and reinstalling them after your two-day fast.
The weekend is the best time for this, the site suggests. And they have five other tips for making the diet work:
* Buy an alarm clock. (If you don’t know what that is, ask your grandmother.) Removing the phone from your bedroom is the number one way to ensure adherence to the diet.
* Dig out your camera. If you really want to take photos, there is another way.
* Do some “mindful” exercise that reconnects your mind to your body, instead of being in your head all the time. They suggest yoga. And then there’s tennis. Anyone?
* Get outside and take a walk in some natural spot – a garden, bushwalk or at the beach. Immersing yourself in nature is a great stress reliever and also distracts you from your yen for a Facebook or Instagram update.
* Enlist support from family and friends. Even better, get them to do the 5:2 diet with you. The last thing you need is someone bringing their phone to the dinner table. And — who knows? — you might end up having a great face to face conversation around the barbecue.
It’s a fairly obvious list, but one shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of staying disconnected for two whole days. Then again, there was a time within living memory when if we really needed to communicate remotely we used the telephone plugged into the wall socket. Like the camera, most of us still have one.
Thanks to Fabrizio Picciarelli at Family and Media for drawing our attention to this great website.