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Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect (smartphone usage)
Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect (smartphone usage)

Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect (smartphone usage)

by Monday, February 1, 2016

Malaysia managed to pull off a mind-blowing stunt in 2014. For a nation of about 30 million, and ranked 43rd in global population, Malaysians set the world record in smartphone usage, surpassing the most populous countries like China and India. We have become a nation of smartphone addicts, spending way too much time looking, tapping and swiping at our minuscule screens.


There is a dire need to periodically refrain from using our devices simply to find a balance between the amount of time spent online and offline. We need to, in other words, carry out a digital detox. And here are the top reasons why:


smartphone usageBecause heavy mobile phone and internet usage disrupts your concentration. If you are perpetually staring at your smartphone, you are likely to suffer from cognitive failure, according to a study conducted by De Montfort University Leicester. Forgetfulness. Prone to making mistakes. Short attention spans. Parents beware! Cognitive impairment from spending too much time on iPads affects young children the most, damaging their social-emotional development. Taking cognizance of the numerous studies involving children and smartphone usage, and to encourage parents to have more direct human-to-human interaction with their kids, Taiwan has become the first country to ban children under two years old from consuming smartphones and tablets.


Because we are human beings. Being human in the digital age means more effort is required to physically connect with people when a Whatsapp message or a Facebook Like is just a tap away. While online friendships can provide social support, they can’t match the emotional and physical closeness of real-life relationships. National Public Radio (NPR) asked its readers what they ought to do with their smartphones while having dinner with another person. One reader told NPR she experienced stabs of loneliness when friends she’s with incessantly texts and checks their phone:


Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect

I’m a sophomore in a North Carolina high school, and I find myself increasingly lonely. Many of my friends check their phones or text while I’m speaking with them, and it happens at least once or twice a day. I remember at one point being asked for advice, and as I was responding to the question the person who had asked was texting someone else and completely ignoring my response, and when I finished speaking she looked up and said ‘huh?’ I think that using cellphones while you’re interacting with someone is not only very rude, but it condemns you to never forming the kinds of deep, lasting relationships that humans crave.”


Because creativity only happens without your digital device.  Smartphone usage encourages multitasking. Carrying out several tasks simultaneously forces your brain to switch rapidly between tasks, and because each toggle uses energy, multitasking drains you. It renders your brain unusable for deep thinking, which is the essence of creativity.


Because you don’t need to be perpetually on call. That’s the trouble with being online – people expect you to be always online! But you need to know when to stop. You don’t have to instantly reply every email or message that pops up on your phone, especially if you need to give your undivided attention to the people – the real world – you are currently engaged with.

Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect


Detoxing digitally once a month, for 24 hours. A digital detox is a fabulous way to protect your overall wellbeing by giving your overstimulated brains, strained eyes, tired wrists and fingers a much-needed break. Take any day you feel comfy with, for example, the last Sunday of the month, and for 24 hours, leave your smartphones, tablets and televisions turned off.




Then make some plans. Cook. Walk in the park. Explore the city. Ask friends out for coffee. Read a real book. Tend to your neglected garden. Meditate.


See if you can take it a bit further next time. Try detoxing digitally every 2 weeks. Then weekly.
Go. Go listen to the real sounds of waves crashing against the rocks instead of Facebook-liking a vacation picture of a friend sipping margarita on the beach.

Digital Detox: Why You Need To Disconnect To Reconnect

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