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28 January, 2017

Why We Need A Tech Detox?

Posted in : Food for Thought on by : Rubina Rahiman Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There may be changes we want to make in our lives, bad habits we want to get rid of, places we want to travel to, activities we want to try, or things we’d like to tick off our bucket list.

So, this year I’m proposing something different-Tech Detox! And the social networking site gurus will definitely not like my writing piece…

Temporarily disengaging from emails, social media, and projects that keep you online is a wonderful way to recharge and gain perspective on where you want to head in 2017.

Well, detoxes of all kinds are all the rage in the wellness community. While popular food-based detoxes can be beneficial to help cleanse your system and reboot your energy, most of us need to dig deeper emotionally and take an honest look at what it means to be connected to technology 24/7.

My research paper on Social Media Addiction was an epiphany moment- the little black screen we just can’t take our eyes off and the irresistible urge to ‘escape’ to the digital world. Technology addiction is real, and it’s wreaking havoc on our mental health.

We are unconsciously addicted to social media, and I have analysed this problem using the theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. I am acknowledging my sincere gratitude to my professor Dr. Lori Koffman for her continued support as I worked on this amidst my move from the Netherlands to Kuwait, and American College of Education for guiding me to an insightful learning journey.  In pursuit of making a difference in the world, I share with you all my intensive research on social media addiction.

I would consider it as a sheer coincidence, while I was researching on this ‘sensitive topic’, a few of my friends on Facebook was sharing this wonderful video:

Thank you Noa Brume, Zeeshan Ansari,  Wendy James, and Nasreen Ali  for sharing, it did capture my attention.

Our unconscious use of social networking sites has affected the overall wellbeing emanating mental, physical, social, and emotional issues. Loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor interpersonal skills, lack of concentration due to distractions, sleep disorders, and narcissism are some of the aftereffects of compulsive use of social networking sites.

Studies show that the motivation which drives the users to use social media are psychological needs and gratification: entertainment, socialization, information seeking, and self-presentation. Social media allows the users to escape from reality and obtain enjoyment. The fulfilment of socialization needs will influence users’ pleasure and flow experience.

MRI scans show that online activity stimulates dopamine, the brain’s pleasure, and reward-seeking neurotransmitter, in the same way as gambling or drugs. Psychologist Julia Hormes hypothesizes that the unpredictable updates on social media platforms and self-disclosures inherent in the process both activate the brain’s reward circuitry, reinforcing the behaviours. “Getting likes on a Facebook post or retweets on Twitter surges dopamine in the brain, which is why people check their social media so incessantly.

Research shows Facebook is used to cope with feelings of disconnection.

Digital Detox: How-To

Abstaining from internet is not a solution as our lives heavily depend on technology in this digital age. The solution is to focus on delayed gratification, increasing self-knowledge, self- reflection and thereby guiding ourselves to make good decisions.

Upon self-reflection, one is aware of the time being wasted in social media and consequently can make a conscious decision to take planned breaks from technology.

Believe in the Power of Choice

A response always requires choosing one behaviour over others. Research shows, students who compulsively use the social networking sites cope with feelings of disconnection by connecting with peers online instead of involving in cultural or sports activities and studying. For this reason, the compulsive urge to use social media to connect may be a less powerful reinforcer if the person’s environment is full of other sources of reinforcement, such as achievement at work or love from family members.

We can live in harmony with technology, or at least it is possible to have a healthy coexistence with technology-there is life outside digital technology.

Can I suggest a few tips that are easy to implement?

5- Easy Steps to A Complete Tech Detox

  1. Go slower by limiting the amount of time spent on devices per day
  2. Get off the internet
  3. Explore alternatives to your tech activities, for instance find new hobbies
  4. Leave your phone in the car once a week, preferably on weekends
  5. Switch off your phone!

Start small and feel it out. You are sure to experience incredible benefits by participating in some form of digital detox this New Year.

 

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