Digital detox

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.[1] Claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, better appreciation of one's environment and becoming more people-oriented.[2][3]

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.[4] 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.[4]

Constant engagement with digital connecting devices at the workplace is claimed to lead to increased stress levels and reduce productivity.[5] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

The Smartphone App Offtime is some sort of digital detox light and supports a daily digital balance.[8]

Other benefits of digital detox

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. Some hotel guests pay hundred dollars a night to have their phones locked up.[12][13]

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.[14] Symptoms include 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.[15]

See also


  1. "digital detox: definition of digital detox in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)". Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  2. Kohli, Sahaj (2014-07-16). "Here's One Big Sign It's Time To Reevaluate Your Relationship With Your Phone". Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  3. "How To Do A Digital Detox". Forbes. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  4. 1 2 Morrison, S., & Gomez, R. (2014). Pushback: The Growth of Expressions of Resistance to Constant Online Connectivity. In iConference 2014 Proceedings (p. 1-15).
  5. 1 2 Ayyagari, R., Grover, V., & Purvis, R. (2011). Technostress: Technological antecedents and implications. MIS Quarterly, 35(4), 831-858.
  6. Smith, J. L. (2013, December 28). Switch off – it’s time for your digital detox. The Telegraph.
  7. Brabazon, T. (2012). Time for a digital detox? From information obesity to digital dieting. Fast Capitalism, 9.1.
  8. Wall Street Journal Germany - Digital Detox explained, 27.07.2014
  9. Brabazon, T. (2013). Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness. Farnham, Surrey, UK England: Ashgate. Pg 20.
  10. White, T. R.(2014). Digital Social Media Detox (DSMD): Responding to a Culture of Interconnectivity.
  11. Huffington Post.(2014, July 10).Go smartphone free: Ditch the gadgets and try a digital detox. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  12. McGinnis, S. (2008, Jul 16). Hotel guests pay $500 a night to have blackberrys confiscated. CanWest News
  13. BlackBerry addiction for Rocky Mountain high. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  14. Bank of America Newsroom.(June 30, 2014). Hold the phone: US consumers wouldn't last one day without access to their smartphone. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  15. Bodycomb, S.(July 28, 2014). Link me, like me, follow me... do you need a digital detox? Action and Research Centre.Retrieved 2014-11-01.
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