Digital Detox: Save Yourself From Your Tech
It is no secret that Americans are more distracted by their smart phones than ever before. The amount of time we spend interacting with our technology has increased steadily in the past few years, and it is causing people to miss out on real life experiences. Often times, there are more fans at concerts with their cell phones out than just enjoying the music in person. For those who are trying to cut back on their tech use, and focus more on life, the people at Pop Sugar have put together a week-long digital detox program.
On the first day of digital detox, start by cleaning house on your social media channels. Unfriend and unfollow people who are not really your friends, unsubscribe yourself from those email lists that you have been ignoring for so long, and delete the apps from your phone that you do not use. It is crucial to really go at it when cleaning out your apps, because the fewer intrusive apps you have on your phone, the more connected you will be to your real life. These few simple steps will make scrolling through your messages, emails, and newsfeeds much more interesting, and frankly, much less annoying.
When Tuesday comes around, continue your digital detox by disabling push notifications on your phone or mobile device to get rid of popups that are really just click-bait to keep you coming back. By simply turning off these notifications, you can help keep your mind clear of distractions.
The goal for Wednesday is to wake up phone-free. Resist the urge to check your phone for texts or emails first thing in the morning. Do your best to enjoy a a healthy breakfast, brush your teeth, and continue your digital detox until you check your phone later.
On Thursday, get the phone out of the bedroom. Move your phone charger to the living room, and try not to use your phone for an hour before bed. A large benefit of digital detox is increasing melatonin, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep so you can wake up feeling more rested.
Everybody loves a good date night, and during a digital detox, a phone-less date night is a great way to get more connected to real life. Try and remember what it is like to have a conversation without Siri’s help.
Saturday’s objective is to go without social media. Although it may seem as if you are depriving your friends of some comedy gold, or just need a place to vent, spending a day away from social media is an important part of digital detox. As scary as it might be to keep your thoughts to yourself for one day, your friends probably won’t even notice your absence.
Sunday is the true test. The final step in your digital detox is to go an entire day without your cellphone. Remember what the days were like before you were tethered to your mobile devices, you can do it! Once you experience a day without your cell phone, you will realize how good it feels to be free from your tech.
After a week of digital detox, you will likely find yourself having an easier time falling asleep and sleeping through the night. Give it a try and see how great it can feel to break free from your tech.
Ken: Friends on Nerds On Call with more of this seven-day smartphone detox.
Julissa: Okay. I’m going to give you permission to get yourself together while I do this, okay?
Ken: Yes. His breathing is killing himself.
Julissa: All right. Our good friend, Ryan, back with us this morning. So last hour, you talked about these things…
Ryan: They’re trying to kill us.
Julissa: They’re trying to kill us.
Ryan: They are.
Julissa: And now, how to detox.
Julissa: To save ourselves, right?
Ryan: There are adult summer camps. They’re not even summer camps, there’re adult camps where…
Julissa: Like treatments?
Ryan: Yeah, where you can go and they take your tablet, your phone, your computer, and everything away from you. And you have to spend seven days just jittering without any kind of notifications or anything. And look, you have two phones.
Julissa: I know. I just went from the studio to here. Okay, seven days, you said, is all it takes.
Ryan: So this is from POPSUGAR.com, which is one of our favorite websites to go to for this kind of cool kitschy stuff.
Ryan: But this is a seven-day plan. And we’re gonna put it up on the website so you guys can watch and follow through this all week. But we’re going to go over it now, so check this out.
Correspondent: All right, all right. So Monday.
Ryan: So Monday, which is today, what you want to do is unfollow all those unreal friends that you’ve got in your newsfeed.
Ryan: People that you probably haven’t seen in years.
Ryan: Old high-school boyfriends and girlfriends that we’re just not really that interested in.
Ryan: We want to unsubscribe from unwanted emails.
Ryan: Remove the extra apps on your phone that are on page seven, that you’re never going to get to. Just get rid of them.
Julissa: Start to distance yourself?
Ryan: We’re just going to begin the process on Monday. That’s not too painful.
Ryan: You can get through that. So on Tuesday, we’re going to turn off push notifications. This is where you’re not going to get a notification at your email, or a text, or you’ve got to water your plants in Farmville.
Julissa: Someone liked your picture on Instagram.
Ryan: Yeah, which we all get jazzed about, “Yeah!”. Or somebody repinned my pin? No, we’re gonna turn off all that stuff and we’re going to go cold turkey. And we’ll look at our phone still, but we’re just not going to get constantly told to look at our phone.
So on Wednesday, we’re going to resist the urge to look at our phone first thing in the morning. And that’s what we all do, right? We get out of bed and we’re like, “Oh, look at that! Somebody did something, some place, and I was sleeping.”
Julissa: Oh, man.
Ryan: So we’re going to not look at the phone first thing in the morning. Take your shower, eat your breakfast, and then look at your phone, maybe just before you get in the car, something like that.
Ryan: All right. So on Thursday, set up a charging station outside of your bedroom. Right now, we keep our phone on our night-side table with all of our other stuff. Well, go old school. Get an alarm clock.
Ryan: Wind that thing up and set it next to your bed. Take all of your gadgets and put them outside your room.
Ryan: You’ll be surprised how good a sleep you’ll get. The screen suppresses our melatonin and so we don’t get as much rest as we’d like.
Julissa: That’s a good sleep, okay.
Ryan: All right. So Friday, go out to dinner and leave your phone at home. Look at these guys, they’re so romantic and nice. They’re drinking wine and having a good time. They’re not looking at their phone going “What? What’d you say?” What’d you say?”
Ryan: “What’d you say?” Okay. All right. So Saturday, spend the day not looking at social media or posting to social media.
Julissa: And Sunday?
Ryan: Sunday, here we go. Turn off your smartphone for the whole day, no cell phone.
Julissa: An entire day?
Ryan: Yeah. Why? You think you can on Sunday? I mean, come on. We’re supposed to be hanging out with our family anyway.
Julissa: Right, right. Okay. All right.
Ryan: So turn it off.
Julissa: Maybe we should challenge…we should take this challenge.
Ryan: We should.
Julissa: That would be interesting.
Ryan: We’re going to post into the website so you can follow it throughout the week in case we went through it too fast.
Julissa: Okay. Ryan, thank you so much.
Ryan: You’re welcome.
Julissa: Nerds On Call, always here to help us out. And save us, save us from these smartphones. Ken, back over to you.
Ken: How am I going to Instagram my dinner if I don’t have my phone with me?
Ken: You’re handcuffing me here, Ryan. You’re handcuffing me, buddy.
Julissa: Rich Wetzel [SP] said he’ll pay you $100 if you can do it.
Jeff: I’ve got two smartphones here, two. Checking them all the time, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, it’s part of the job. But what if I told you that addiction, insomnia, eyestrain and loss of attention all could be the result of paying attention too much to your smartphone and being addicted social media.
Ryan: Are you going to punch me if I grab one?
Jeff: No, take them both. I don’t want them. I don’t want insomnia. Ryan Eldridge with Nerds on Call is here to talk about how we can detox from our devices. Those are some serious symptoms.
Ryan: Here’s the thing, the Internet is addictive, and our smartphone is giving us constant access to it. Here’s a fun fact, one in three people would rather give up sex than their smartphone.
Ryan: Is that insane? I can’t imagine that, but a lot of people will do that.
Jeff: I believe it. I believe it.
Ryan: Did you know the dings and notifications and things like that, it produces dopamine in your brain, and that’s the same thing that keeps us addicted to things like heroin and crack cocaine and that kind of stuff.
Jeff: So my cell phone is the equivalent of crack.
Ryan: Yeah, because every time it dings, your brain goes “Oh, that sounds kind of good. What is that? What is that?” You keep looking at it and you get rewarded each time you see a new email or a new text or a new something else.
Jeff: In this case, we’re snorting likes, and that’s unfortunate.
Ryan: Here’s another thing, people who are addicted to the Internet, they have 10% to 20% smaller brain areas that are responsible for speech and motor skills and emotion. That’s probably why people are so mean when they’re online. They don’t have as much emotional capacity as the rest of us. It’s better to have interactions with regular people than online.
Jeff: Absolutely, but it’s so hard to tell the younger generation to put down their phones. How do we detox?
Ryan: There’s a seven-day detox plan, but before we get to that, I have one last fact that’s really cool. Did you know that the average American’s attention span is less than a goldfish? In 2010, it was 12 seconds, and now it’s only 8 seconds. Every time we get bored, we pull out our phone and start looking at it. So let’s talk about detoxing. The number one thing we can do is start on Monday. Digital detox is about turning off the addiction. The first thing you want to do is unfollow all those people on your Facebook feed that aren’t your real friends. Turn off all the Twitter followers you aren’t paying attention to that much.
Jeff: Okay, so I’ll have to delete about 800 people.
Ryan: You want to clean out your phone. Clean out all those apps that you don’t really use, things that are just sending you popups all the time. That’s on Monday, clean your digital house. On Tuesday, turn off your little dings and pops, all those little notifications that are telling you you got a new text, or you got a new thing on Facebook. Turn those off. On Wednesday, here’s gonna be the kicker, what you want to do is take your phone and leave it outside of your bedroom when you go to bed at night. Just charge it someplace else.
Jeff: So many people use their phone as the alarm clock is the problem.
Ryan: I know, but go get an old school alarm clock that you can wind up.
Jeff: Those still exist?
Ryan: Yeah, they do. Get them at Walmart. Leave your phone outside, because what happens is when we go to bed at night we’ll be looking through it, and going “Oh, look at that text,” and that suppresses our melatonin. We don’t want to do that, so just leave your phone outside the bedroom. On Thursday what you want to do is wake up without your phone. Don’t even look at it. Eat your breakfast, go to work, and then when you get to work, then check your phone. Check your emails, check your texts, things like that. On Friday, here’s going to be another big one, turn your phone off, and go out without your phone. Go out and have a date night without Siri telling you all the time what to talk about. Just talk to someone else.
Jeff: I like that.
Ryan: On Saturday, don’t post to social media all day. Don’t even tell anybody that your labradoodle got a new trick, just turn it off and don’t post at all that day.
Jeff: We’ve got about ten seconds for Sunday.
Ryan: Sunday’s the last big one. Sunday, just leave your phone off the entire day. See if you can make it through a whole day. If you didn’t take notes, all these tips will be online. You can just check the website.
Jeff: And the website is?
Jeff: I’m going to put my phone over there.
Ryan: I’ll put mine down. There we go. We’re free!
Jeff: That’s a first step. We are doing the digital detox. It feels amazing, Crystal.
Crystal: That won’t last long. No, I’m kidding.
Jeff: I’m grabbing it right now.
Keba: Some are addicted, others say they just really love to use their smartphones. After all, the technology is so convenient. You have the Internet, email, social media, and your contacts right there at your fingertips. But studies show among other things, your smartphone can cause insomnia, reduced focus, and distraction from just enjoying real life. Here with a seven-day digital detox guide is Ryan Eldridge, co-founder of Nerds on Call. So, Digital Detox.
Keba: Why should someone maybe consider at least curbing the use of their cellphones?
Ryan: There are real health effects when it comes to cellphones. One of the best ways to control a human’s behavior is to put them on an incremental intermittent behavior system where they are getting rewarded every now and then. Kind of like a casino, if you put a penny into a machine, every now and then pays you out. Well, our phones are just like that, every time a ding happens or a buzz happens, we look at it and we get rewarded because “Oh look it’s a new text message. “Oh, oh, oh.” And that reinforces our behavior to do that. That isolates us from other people around us. People with internet addictions, they have a 10% to 15% smaller brain areas that control speech and function and motor function and emotion. That’s why most people are so mean on the Internet because they have little smaller brains.
Keba: So it’s taking us away from real life, right?
Ryan: There was a recent survey done that said that one in three people would give up sex before they give up their smartphone, and that’s pretty crazy. When you think about it, we keep our smartphone next to us at bedtime, and we’ll look at it. I think 95% of respondents said they’ll text, they’ll email, or they’ll watch TV before they go to bed. Well, the problem is that the little screen suppresses the melatonin in our system.
Keba: Keeps us awake.
Ryan: Yeah, it regulates how when we go to sleep and stuff. So it keeps us awake and we get deprived of sleep and most people say that one to two times a week they’ll get interrupted because of a text or email when they’re sleeping.
Keba: Okay, seven-day digital detox, let’s do it. Monday, how do we start this?
Ryan: So on Monday, first this is put together by PopSugar. It’s popsugar.com, a really great website. I suggest everyone go to it. But anyway, on Monday, here’s what you do: unfollow all those people on your Facebook feed that aren’t your real friends, just get rid of them. Then you want to make sure you go through twitter and do the same thing. Maybe if you are a fan of a page, turn those things off, and just clean house a little bit. Get rid of all the extra apps on your phone you aren’t using.
Keba: So, Monday you’re cleaning house, getting rid of the apps you don’t use, friends you don’t talk to. Okay, Tuesday.
Ryan: Tuesday, turn off those notifications, those little bings and pops and buzzes and stuff. We all get the phantom buzz and we are like “Oh there’s something on my phone” and then we look at it and nothing is there. So you want to turn those off, so that way you know there’s no phantom buzzes, and it’s not going to distract you.
Keba: Just keep the ones on that you use or that you need.
Ryan: I’d turn them all off. How often do you check your phone already? Most people check their phones thousands of times a day, not just hundreds and so you turn those off because you don’t need to. You’re going to check it when you need to rather it telling you when to check it.
Keba: Okay, notifications off. Wednesday.
Ryan: Wednesday, okay, so here, wake up phone free. Wake up, go out, eat breakfast, see your significant other, maybe play with your dogs, and don’t check your phone for at least an hour after you get up.
Ryan: I know that’s going to be tough.
Ryan: Thursday, this one’s going to be really tough. Take your phone charger out of the bedroom and charge it outside your room. I know Jeff this morning was talking about how he uses it as an alarm clock. So just get that old alarm clock out of the attic or garage and use that.
Keba: Thursday, take the phone out of the room. Okay, Friday.
Ryan: Friday, date night, leave your phone at home and go out. This is going to be weird for some people because you’re not going to have Siri to break that conversation. You’re going to have a real conversation with somebody across the table.
Keba: Quickly, Ryan, Saturday.
Ryan: Saturday, don’t look at social media all day, don’t post anything, don’t look at it, just don’t even mess with it. And here’s Sunday, this is the big one, the big kicker. On Sunday, turn your phone off for the whole day. Don’t even look at it for an entire day, and see what happens. You’re gonna have a Sunday that is free of technology, and it’s going to be pretty cool.
Keba: And we’ll all be okay, right?
Ryan: We’ll be just fine. This is an incremental step program, so just do it a little bit at a time and it will be fine.
Keba: Okay, okay, I get it. I hear you.
Ryan: I challenge you, Keba. I’m gonna ask you next time I’m on if you did it.