There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it – people nowadays are pretty much addicted to technology. And it’s a somewhat modern problem – even looking back to television shows set in the 90s, while technology was present, it wasn’t all-consuming. However, nowadays, it seems that most people can’t go anywhere without their smart phones in their hands, they can’t go a day without logging into their computers, and they can’t bear to shut off the Netflix marathon.
If you’re feeling like you’re spending far too much time with your gadgets and not enough time with your friends, there’s a simple solution – you need to do a digital detox. We’re not saying throw all your devices in the garbage – cell phones are a fantastic innovation for emergencies. However, leave the phone at home when you go out for coffee with an old friend. Keep the television turned off during dinner and just enjoy one another’s company. There are a lot of benefits to doing a self-imposed digital detox.
Then there are the true technology addicts, the ones who begin to twitch and panic at the mere mention of handing over their precious smart phone. They can’t imagine being without technology for one minute, let alone a day or even longer. Who are these tech-dependent creatures? Well, if you find yourself agreeing with the majority of the items on this list, you might be one of them.
15 If you forget your phone, you turn back and get it immediately
Look, we get it, smart phones are great. They help you stay connected, they’re super handy for looking something up when you’re running around town, and who doesn’t love to scroll through Instagram or play a few rounds of the latest game they’re obsessing over? However, if the minute you realize you forgot your phone, you turn back immediately to get it – regardless of whether it’ll make you late, or whether you actually need it for anything in the next hour or two, then chances are you’ll have a really tough time giving it up for a digital detox.
14 You have a standing date with Netflix
Pretty much everyone who has Netflix is a huge fan of Netflix, let’s be honest. I mean, there are so many options right at your fingertips! And, while there’s definitely something to be said about the experience of waiting for a new episode each week, the fact is that binge-watching whatever television show you’re currently loving can be a lot of fun. However, there’s a difference between having a Netflix binge with some girlfriends and a bottle (or two) of wine over the weekend, and having one every night. If you find that you’re getting through a season a week, you might want to cut back. If you find that you’re getting through an entire series a week? You’re going to have definite separation anxiety if you ever give up that account.
13 The only time you turn your phone off is on an airplane
There are a few places even the biggest technology addicts have to unplug, and an airplane is one of them. It’s pretty much a temporary thing, as they’re already developing wi-fi for planes, so it’s only a matter of time before you can take all your calls while soaring through the sky (although, honestly, we have a sneaky suspicion that half the reason you’re asked to turn off your phone is so you won’t annoy all your fellow passengers). However, for the time being, you need to switch your phone to airplane mode when you’re preparing to fly somewhere. If the mere idea of seeing that little plane icon at the top of your phone fills you with dread, if you’re shaking at the idea of being unable to check your phone for the duration of your flight, you would definitely not survive a digital detox.
12 You charge your devices several times a day
Technology has come a long way over the years, and this includes batteries. While once upon a time a laptop, notebook, or phone might have only held a charge for a few hours, nowadays that teeny, tiny battery will be okay for quite awhile, depending on use. If you find that you’re constantly looking for an outlet to recharge your device, we’re going to be honest – it has nothing to do with the device, and it has a lot to do with the fact that you’re using it way, way too much. Put away all those extra batteries you have holstered ‘just in case’ you can’t find an outlet, and just relax.
11 You can’t remember the last time you read something in print
Once upon a time, people would bring in the daily newspaper and page through it with their morning coffee, their fingertips getting pleasantly black and stained with the newsprint. They would peruse their bookshelves, plucking out whichever tome fit their mood at the moment. They would page through glossy magazines. Sure, many people still read – but increasing amounts of people get their news on their phones or computers, and have switched their reading habits to e-books exclusively. If you can’t even remember the last time you read something in print rather than on a digital screen, there’s a problem.
9 Your phone is with you 24/7
We get being concerned about the whereabouts of your phone when you’re out in public – after all, you might be waiting for a text to see if your friend is on her way, you might need to call a cab at the end of the night, etc. We get it. However, if you can’t handle moving from the living room to the kitchen without your phone, there’s no way you’d survive a digital detox. Seriously – we’re pretty sure nothing is going to happen in the 30 seconds it takes to walk from one room of your place to another if the phone is ringing. It doesn’t need to be within a two foot distance of you at all times. Speaking of…
8 Your devices are within reach always – even in bed
The super successful Arianna Huffington has been outspoken about her attitude towards digital devices in the bedroom – keep them out of there! Look, we know that in this day and age, countless individuals use their phone as an alarm clock. However, there needs to be limits. If you’re rolling over to check your phone constantly while you’re in bed, chances are your sleep will suffer. We’re not going to get into all the scientific details about light and digital screens and all that, but let’s just say that reading a book rather than scrolling through Facebook before bed will do wonders for your sleep.
7 You’re plugged in as soon as you wake up
Once upon a time, people had morning routines that didn’t involve technology whatsoever. Perhaps a cup of coffee and a warm bowl of oatmeal, followed by a short walk, a hot shower, and a little bit of reading. Whatever starts your day on the right foot. However, nowadays more and more people start their day out with a big dose of technology – often without even getting out of bed! Come on, we’re all guilty of scrolling through social media for way too long before dragging our butts out of bed. However, if you can’t imagine a morning with no digital devices, you definitely wouldn’t survive a detox.
6 You’ve experienced phantom ring
No one wants to miss an important phone call, or even an important text message. After all, that’s what phones were originally designed to do – aid in communication. However, the phenomena of the phantom ring takes things to a whole new level. Many people have experienced it – that sensation that your phone is vibrating, but when you check it, there are no new calls or messages. The phantom ring is a bit of a side effect from compulsively checking your phone or social media accounts, and always having your device a few inches from your fingertips.
5 You panic when the power goes out
No one likes a power outage – they’re inconvenient, and they can even be a bit frightening. While many people likely begin to worry about the contents of their fridge and freezer, hoping that it won’t all spoil, a technology addict will likely begin to panic because devices need power. Sure, the battery in your phone and laptop will keep going for awhile, but eventually they’ll need charging – and if a power outage lasts quite awhile, that means no recharging your devices. Power outages can be a forced way to detox, provided you’re not driving around in a panic, trying to find someplace with power to charge your devices.
4 You don’t have any hobbies that don’t involve technology
From sports to crafting, there are tons of hobbies that don’t require any type of device whatsoever. Have a soccer ball and a field to play in? You can start up an informal soccer game between friends. Purchase some yarn and simple knitting needles? You’re halfway on the way to creating a gorgeous scarf to combat the winter chill. Hobbies are an important thing to cultivate, but technology has spoiled some of that. More and more people find themselves just watching television or scrolling through social media in their downtime rather than participating in a hobby that involves them physically or creatively.
3 You’ve had some type of tech-related injury
Everyone will remember the stories of people who ended up getting injuries from overuse of their devices. Sure, everyone knows about carpal tunnel and tries to combat the aches and pains that result from overuse of computers. However, there’s also been an upswing of ridiculous technology-related injuries, such as thumb sprain from too many games of Candy Crush. Listen, we get it – it’s addicting to get to the next level. But if you’re causing yourself injury because of some digital addictions, you need a digital detox – badly.
2 You can’t eat a good meal without wanting to Instagram it
Half the fun of going out to eat is the overall experience. Sure, it’s fantastic to treat yourself to a meal you might not be able to make, or to sample some flavour combinations that never crossed your mind. After all, chefs know what they’re doing, and they can plate up some absolutely delicious dishes. However, going out to eat is also about enjoying the ambiance and décor of the restaurant, and enjoying the company of whoever you’re dining with. If you find that you can’t enjoy a meal because you’re too busy trying to capture Instagram-worthy shots of the food and the restaurant, you need to take a step back.
1 You can’t fall asleep without doing 'one more thing'
There’s no secret that technology affects our sleep, and there are countless articles citing different types of studies involving technology, but we’re going to go with the simple ‘one more thing’ problem. Simply put, since we have so much technology available at our fingertips, it’s easy to put off sleep because there’s just one more quick thing you wanted to do. Whether it’s reading one more article on your favorite website, beating one more level of the newest game you’re obsessed with, or scrolling through your Instagram feed one more time for any updates, those little things can add up. Try to detox and spend your evening doing something more relaxing.