Americans aged 18-64 are spending an average of 3.2 hours a day using social networks, according to a recent study.
I find it unsettling that people are spending more time connected with each other online than in person. While I enjoy interacting with my friends on Facebook and have been reconnected with old acquaintances, I am starting to feel disconnected in other ways and have found myself exhibiting some unhealthy habits.
Here are 10 signs you need may need an internet intervention:
1. Your iPad gets more attention in bed than your spouse.
2. Your meals become constant photo sessions.
3. You feel anxiety when your phone batteries run low and your charger is not nearby.
4. You are a toxic texter and become upset when no one responds in real time.
5. You find your self having more conversations on Twitter and Facebook than in person.
6. You check your emails in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep… and someone responds!
7. Your cell phone falls in the toilet.
8. You are a stealth tweeter under the table or watching a show with constant commentary and hashtags.
9. You realize you have no idea who many of your “friends” on Facebook even are.
10.You are too busy to work out because you need that hour to catch up on work emails.
If you exhibit any of these signs or others that keep you attached to technology when you should be getting some healthy exercise, enjoying your surroundings, connecting with people around you and living in the moment, you may need a digital detox.
Here is my own five-step digital detox program:
1. The Facebook fast. One day a week (and more if you can manage) forgo posting on Facebook. Your FB friends won’t even notice anyway.
2. Selfie-control. No more self-shooting. The photos never look that great anyway.
3. Call a friend to talk or meet for coffee rather than texting or instant messaging
4. Turn your bedroom (and bathroom!) into a tech-free zone.
5. Have an email cleanse. Clean out your inbox once a day. Once a week empty the junk, delete the spam and unsubscribe to anything you no longer want to receive. And, go off duty writing and responding to work emails after hours.
For all the wonderful ways technology makes our lives easier, connected and more informed, it can complicate other parts of our lives by making us less accessible and communicative to those around us. Technology is good for capturing someone’s attention, but it is not conducive to nurturing either a relationship or yourself.
When social media makes you anti-social, when your need for Internet speed is in overdrive and when recharging your phone batteries is more important than recharging your mind and body, it’s time to draw the line, unplug the cord and establish healthy digital downtime. Technology is meant to open up your lives to the world, not tie you up.