On Friday, January 11, 2014, I performed a 24 hour digital detox. I refused to use anything digital, including video games, music players, and my cell-phone’s alarm clock. During the detox, I was at a retreat with the Brotherhood of Distinguished Arabs, the first upcoming Arab fraternity in the United States (as of January 11, 2014). The retreat was at Balboa Island by the famous coastline of Newport Beach.
The purpose of a digital detox is to gain new perspectives on your lifestyle. By performing a digital detox, you can potentially find flaws within your everyday, technology-filled routines, and thus be more productive, happy, and aware of your everyday actions. Occasionally, putting down your “smart” phone for 24 hours can help you do other things you want to do throughout the day, since “smart” phones can take away precious amounts of time and damage your social etiquette (i.e at the dinner table, in class, at the house with family/roommates, etc.).
My digital detox at the retreat did indeed make the day different. I woke up at noon (yes, 12pm, retreats allow you to over-sleep) and immediately began my “morning” routine of eating cereal, taking a shower, and dressing up. The digital detox had already changed things at that time. Without the digital detox, I would have integrated checking my phone, listening to my iPod, and opening my laptop into my morning routine, and I would have thus tripled the amount of time to prepare myself for the day. I was the first individual in the entire retreat to be dressed up and ready to hang out for the day.
The afternoon was easy to deal with. Walks around the island, eating frozen bananas, and planning future retreat events were in the agenda. No digital technology was required for me to use. However, I noticed how digital media impacted an individual’s social customs. Whenever no conversation was taking place between the guys, they reverted to their phones to maintain interactions and prevent boredom. YouTube videos, Facebook pictures, and news articles were circulating among the guys through their phones. I, of course, refused to even look at their phone screens, and ended up analyzing the behaviors of not just the guys I was with, but of all the strangers passing by on the sidewalks.
Dozens of thoughts rushed through my head. As a result of exponential technological growth, the 21st century has developed an information economy. This information economy benefits individuals who act on information quickly and harms people who have no access to information via technology. Those of us with LinkedIn, Facebook, and e-mail can intuitively know what this means. The better you are with technology, the better you are with dealing information. The better you are with dealing information, the more benefits you will receive from the information economy (i.e effective communication, social networking, job opportunities, school work, current events awareness, and knowledge). Furthermore, our intelligence has recently been associated with the technology we use. Employers, colleagues, and family members can make assumptions on your capabilities based off of what technology you use. They do so because of the information economy.
The day started to wind down. I still refused to use any form of digital technology around my friends. They asked me questions regarding the detox, the future of digital technology, and the pros and cons behind technology abuse. We all ended up having an intellectual conversation. Without the digital detox, this conversation would have never taken place.
It was finally 1 o’clock in the morning (January 12, 2014). The digital detox had officially ended. The first activity I decided to do was, as a result of temptation, play video games with the guys. Following the video games, I wrote down a weekly reminder on my Google Calendar; once a week, I would try to perform a digital detox. I found the digital detox extremely beneficial. As long as I have no fast-approaching deadlines on any given week, I will happily perform a 24 hour digital detox and reap its benefits. It does not hurt to add more outlooks to your lifestyle. Moreover, for anyone who wants to be productive, a digital detox, despite the efficiency of digital technology, can help you actually complete your to-do list for any certain day.
Expect another digital detox post in the near future.
Okuduğunuz için teşekkürler. Thanks for reading.