Jump on any health and wellbeing website and you’ll find two common words: ‘digital detox’.
Take time out from your devices. Look at a person, not a screen. Disconnect to reconnect. The message is always the same – stop staring at your devices and start living in the real world.
While admirable sentiments, here’s the thing: these very same devices may offer some people an avenue of human connection previously denied to them; whether through personal circumstance, geography or any myriad of impairments.
We live in a digital era, where more than 2.16 billion people connect to each other daily via their smartphone, sharing every facet of the human condition, good or bad, imaginable. Like it or not, this is the world we live in.
Try pursuing a long-distance relationship without using video calling, like Skype or Face Time, or an instant messaging service, like Whatsapp or WeChat, and you will soon learn firsthand what it was like to live in the ‘40s.
When was the last time you organised to hang out with friends, catch a music concert with your partner or check cinema session times without using that digital gadget at the end of your finger tips?
The truth is, digital services that either connect us or bring us news and stories from across the globe are now an integral part of life. We thrive on our ability to reach more people with our voices, to connect with likeminded souls around the world or share the knowledge and opinions we have with the masses.
But with great power comes great responsibility. While we’ve been granted the keys to this glorious kingdom of hyperconnectivity, it’s been left up to us to draw a line between moderate usage and over indulgence.
If there’s one thing reality TV has taught me, is that many humans don’t know the meaning of the word ‘moderation’.
Technology is not the new evil here. The answer is not necessarily to switch off, but to bend these techno marvels to your will and make them do your bidding.
The logic underlying the digital detox argument is fundamentally flawed. Rather than being warped by their smartphone, the reality is more likely that many users have always been this way, and that digital device has simply proven a magnifying glass for a default condition.
So rather than switching off to help you reconnect, scroll through your smartphone contacts and call or message someone you’ve lost contact with, or book that Airbnb in the city you’ve always wanted to visit.
Use your smart device to your betterment or detriment – the choice is up to you.
And if you feel the need to relax more or de-stress, there’s an app for that.