Most of us indulge in some type of social media interaction on a daily basis. For many it’s the first thing we do as soon as we open our eyes. How many of you are guilty of reaching for your phone before you get that morning crust out your eyes? I know I am. Constantly checking our email, Instagram, Twitter to find out what’s trending, Facebook feed and more recently Snapchat and Periscope. We’ve become so obsessed with over-sharing and indulged in having to know everything that’s going on the second it’s happening. I believe we’re the who, what, when, where, why generation. In our defense, any information we need today is just a click away and it’s becoming even more, convenient now with the voice command feature.
Technology is literally everywhere, so it’s almost impossible to get away from it. It’s in every store and most people have some kind of technology in their homes. Of course our cellular phones and to make matters worse they can all be connected to one another! We can log onto Facebook from our televisions (I mean really). I don’t know about you, but all this technology and especially social media can become overwhelming and sometimes leaves me feeling drained. On more than one occasion, I have deactivated my Facebook account or simply would just log off for months. Not go on Twitter, log off my Instagram and avoid all social media platforms for the sake of my own mental health.
While taking a break from writing this article, I stumbled across a Huffington Post article on my phone’s newsfeed titled, What Are the Health Benefits of Unplugging? There are no definitive links that connect your health and taking breaks from the digital world but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Just because scientist haven’t discovered a significant connection between the two doesn’t mean it’s not unhealthy mentally or spiritually. However, the article did list multiple studies that over-involvement with our digital devices can create or exacerbate problems.
- One study found that young people who are heavy technology users have a higher risk of sleep disturbances and mental health issues.
- Other research found that the so-called “Google effect” is remember information.
- Still another study showed that the mere presence of a cell phone is distracting enough to impede performance on mental tasks.
- And other studies have shown that browsing light-emitting devices like iPads and e-readers at bedtime disrupts sleep.
A recent study conducted by mobileinsurance.com revealed the average person spends at least 90 minutes a day on their phones. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person’s life. According to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, teens today spend more than 7.5 hours a day consuming media on mobile devices. At some point, your brain needs to take a break from staring at those screens for hours on end.
Growing up in the generation where technology was emerging, I tend to have to find a balance. Yes, I love how technology has advanced, but I still remember the simplicity of things and living in the moment. Today, we’ve all come accustomed to having instant gratification. We read or share something and then we’re almost immediately in search of the next thing.
It may not have been proven just yet by scientist therefore, no one is telling you to unplug for a period of time for the sake of your health, but regardless you should still exercise social cleansing for your mental and spiritual. Taking digital breaks whether it’s a few hours daily, a couple days, weeks or even a month from my own experience leaves me feeling rejuvenated. I find that I feel recharged, I’m refocused and I don’t feel as drained when I take time for myself to unplug.
Do you find yourself needing to unplug? Have you ever tried a 30-day digital detox?