Has your smartphone taken over your life? Do you subconsciously apply an Instagram filter to things around you? It’s time to break free from your digital addiction.
Complete this questionnaire honestly, then look at the results below to find out if you are addicted to your digital devices.
On a non-workday, how many hours do you spend online (on social media sites, watching youtube, shopping, reading the news and the like), whether on a laptop or a mobile device?
A. Zero. I prefer watching television and reading the newspapers. I am old fashioned that way.
B. About one to three hours.
C. I lose count after three episodes of The Walking Dead. What do you mean it’s a working day tomorrow?
You realize that you had left your mobile phone at home on a workday. You feel…
A. Indifferent – there’s nothing that can’t wait until you’re near a laptop or a phone.
B. Irritated and annoyed. How could you forget to take it out with you?
C. Panic-stricken – you rush home immediately to get it even if you live an hour away from your office.
At a gathering, you are…
A. Making conversation, and catching up with family and friends.
B. Check your phone occasionally to see if there’s anything interesting going on on Facebook or Twitter.
C. Intensely playing Candy Crush – level 373 isn’t going to clear itself.
While on holiday, You…
A. Enjoy the break – you’ve earned it – and take in the sights and sounds.
B. Check your e-mail and update your social media accounts at the end of the day using free hotel Wi-Fi.
C. Make a beeline for the nearest telco store to get a local SIM card. How will your friends know what’s going on in your life if you don’t check in at every restaurant and tourist attraction?
If your answers are…
Mostly A: Your digital devices do not have a strong hold over you. At all. Are your friends constantly complaining about how difficult it is to contact you yet?
Mostly B: Congratulations! You appreciate the importance of technology, but you draw the line at letting it take over your life.
Mostly C: Uh-oh. With all that time spent checking your e-mail on your smartphone, updating your social media accounts, shopping online and watching youtube videos, how do you ever get anything else done? A digital detox is definitely in order.
Detox yourself in three simple steps
You don’t have to chuck your smartphone or cancel your Wi-Fi subscription. Here’s how to be less depending on your digital devices.
Step 1: Understand your relationship with your digital devices. Ask yourself if you feel uneasy without them or are unable to focus on one online task at a time because you need to be constantly stimulated. Do you feel less refreshed the next day because you’d stayed up watching videos the night before? Realise that when you say yes to your devices, you are saying no to something else.
Step 2: Unplug your digital devices for a few hours a day and do something else. Read a magazine, go for a walk or get busy in the kitchen. Or, set boundaries and limitations for using them. For instance, do not take your phone to bed with you at night.
Step 3: Make time to communicate with friends and loved ones face to face, instead of just through e-mail and tests. Make it a point not to use any of your digital devices during mealtimes. Try the “Phone stack” challenge (check below). When you are at a function, resist the temptation to hide in a corner with your smartphone. Challenge yourself to initiate as many conversations as possible with people you don’t know.
Phone Stack Challenge
Are your friends constantly on their phones during mealtimes? Play a game of “Phone stack”, where everyone surrenders their phones and places them in a stack – the aim is to see who can last the longest without their device, and it encourages you and your friends to interact with one another. Whoever reaches for his/her phone first will have to pick up the tab for dinner.