Bottoming Out on Digital Media? Try a Digital Detox
Yes, it has come to this: “Digital Detoxes”–offline stays for those of us bottoming out on information overload. While we’ve looked at tools for combating the attention span crisis in the past, for many of us, the temptation to go online makes these tools insufficient for quelling information overload.
It seems evident that the pervasiveness of online use is reaching a saturation point.
- A 2009 study found the average American spends 13 hours/week on the internet, not including email; 14% exceed 24 hours/week. Numbers that are surely getting bigger.
- A Google study found that 72 percent of those surveyed use their smartphones while consuming other media and that 1/3 are on their smartphones while watching TV.
In one way shape or form, most of us are looking at glowing boxes for a good portion of our waking hours, including our vacations.
A tour company called Black Tomato offers a nine day digital detox in the remote Caribbean islands of St Vincent’s and the Grenadines for $3800 (includes airfare from London and accommodations). The company strips you of your devices and offers a life coach to help you with the detoxification process.
Less remote, less financially taxing, is The Digital Detox, which offers personal and corporate retreats in Ukiah, California. For $450-950 for three, all-inclusive nights, guests surrender all of their devices, including watches. Days are spent hanging out at the hot springs, eating vegetarian cuisine and doing yoga. Instead of chronically their trip on their phones, are encouraged to journal.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, The Digital Detox founder Levi Felix “When people go on vacation and have the intention of unplugging, studies show that they spend 30% of the time working or on some kind of tech anyways” He even said that “people find themselves going on a camping trip, grabbing their phone and going on old emails,” even when there’s zero cell coverage.
In other words, it’s not enough to go off-grid. Many of us need our devices pried from out hands to get completely offline.
What do you think? Does being online represent freedom or repression? Is being online all the time–even on vacation–necessarily a bad thing?