PORTLAND, Ore. — All week long at KGW we’ve been challenging you (and ourselves) to take a little step back from our smartphones and other devices.
I decided to try my hand at a “digital detox” for just one weekend because, like many others out there, I’m way too attached to my phone.
Before starting the exercise, I took a look at the app that tracks screen time on my phone. I apparently spend about three hours every day on my phone. The most popular apps I use included Facebook, Instagram, and Poshmark which is a clothing reselling app.
Research shows that teens and adults can be in front of a screen for between nine to 11 hours a day, and more time on social media has been linked to anxiety and depression in young adults.
The whole idea of my weekend digital detox, was to disconnect from all the technology we find ourselves using every day, and maybe I’d gain better health and well-being.
My little experiment started the moment I woke up Saturday morning.
Here were the rules: I wasn’t allowed to use any social media or entertainment apps on any of my devices. I could watch TV, but couldn’t binge-watch any shows. Also, I was absolutely not allowed to “double screen,” or look at two screens at once. In addition, I was allowed to text but it was very limited. Instead, I told people to call me if they needed to talk to me.
To document my experience, I had a GoPro.
Right off the bat, I noticed I was more present in a conversation I had over coffee. In another interaction, as I was hanging out with friends, I noticed I got more annoyed when one of my friends continuously checked his cell phone. As I walked around the city, I also became aware of just how many other people were glued to their phones.
At the gym, working out was noticeably harder without the usual music blaring through my earbuds.
I realized how reliant I am on my phone, when a group of friends wanted to go out to eat. I felt useless because I couldn’t look up restaurant reviews.
Again I was reminded of my dependence on technology, when at breakfast, I couldn’t help my friends plan for an upcoming trip. I had no access to any of my travel apps.
I love to cook and often post pictures to Instagram. This weekend, was a no-go in that realm.
Because I wasn’t preoccupied by endlessly scrolling social media, I felt I had time for other activities I might not normally have the time to do.
Overall, I’m glad I decided to do a digital detox. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but at the same time it wasn’t easy.
Throughout the weekend I felt the urge to check my notifications, but am happy to report that I stayed away from my phone.
In the end, while I’m glad I did a digital detox for the weekend, I wonder if I could go longer.
Are you or your family members addicted to your phones or technology? Could you do a digital detox? Would you do it? Let us know if you or your family are interested in doing a week-long digital detox challenge and letting us come along for the ride! You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We conducted a Facebook live on the KGW page and interviewed Dr. Robin Henderson, head of Providence behavioral health, for 'Digital Detox' week. She talked about the impacts of too much screen time, and had some good tips on ways to cut back.