As one of the most digitally connected societies in the world, Aussies are spending an average of 23 hours and 18 minutes online each week – that equates to almost a full day!
In fact, Aussies spend at least six hours and 52 minutes on social media each month.
With the Internet available on our phones, on our TV’s, at work, in shopping centres, and many other places, it’s no surprise that we spend most of our free time online.
The digital world brings us closer together, and allows us to access masses of information with just one click. Researchers suggest the average person consumes 174 newspapers’ worth of information each day. However our digital connection can also breed distraction and difficulty when focusing on tasks.
In this tech savvy age, there’s now an acronym for when you feel you’re not part of the crowd – FOMO or ‘Fear Of Missing Out’.
According to Sydney-based Psychologist, Jocelyn Brewer, when people overuse technology and are constantly connected, it can create FOMO for that person.
For instance, if you are invited to an event through Facebook, but are yet to decide whether to attend or not, people will likely post pictures of this event online, which can drive your desire to go, as you develop FOMO. This encourages you to choose whether or not to risk missing out on the fun of that event.
So is there anywhere I can go to escape the digital world?
Former investment banker turned meditation instructor, Patrick Given-Wilson, has determined how a way in which to tackle our “digital” problem. He has developed a retreat which focuses on a strict 10-day, no technology, and no conversation, to encourage a break from the digital world. Based in the Blue Mountains, NSW, it’s become so popular, there’s a large waiting list for the various courses on offer.
“When we first started, we were very small. Now it’s totally changed. You get the lawyers, the doctors, the businessmen and the courses are full – they’re waitlisted,” said Mr Wilson.
Dr Brewer maintains people need to start thinking about their relationship with technology.
“It’s really about shaping our habits and asking ourselves, how do we feel when we’re using technology and how do want to control technology rather than let it control us?
“What’s incredibly important with a digital detox, is it’s not just a restriction for the sake of restriction, but that you’re actually taking time to reflect on the kinds of habits and the kinds of activities that you want to be doing with technology when you come back online,” Dr Brewer said.
Not only is a digital detox good for your mental state, but it offers your body physical relaxation from neck strain, dry and tired eyes, headaches, backaches and sleep problems.
If you consider a week without technology simply too long, particularly when dealing with work, family and technology-dependent situations, you can choose to go only 24 hours without access to such.
US initiative, The National Day of Unplugging (March 4 – 5, 2016), represents a 24 hour period during which you can unwind, unplug, relax, get outdoors and connect with loved ones, without screen time. So consider signing a pledge to ‘unplug’ this March, from sunrise to sunset. For more information, head here: www.nationaldayofunplugging.com
With the New Year now just right around the corner, isn’t it time you changed your digital habits for 2016?
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