Like most of us mamas, I’m never very far away from my phone. Whether I’m taking pictures of the kids, having a quick peek at my news-feed (ok, ok – I’m reading about the latest episode of Love Island – not even sorry) or checking out what the weather will be like tomorrow – it’s always within reaching distance.
On Sunday 25th June 2017, it is National Unplugging Day – a day when we are all encouraged to go gadget-free, from sun-up til sun-down. I’ll admit, the thought of that is alien but oddly refreshing. My husband, on the other hand, came out in a cold sweat when I told him about this, and looked like I’d suggested he cut his arm off. Which quite frankly, he would probably find preferable (as long as he still had one good hand to scroll).
In the modern world, being digitally connected has become the norm – it’s expected. We can be ‘on’ 24/7 and we are unintentionally disengaging from each other without even realising it.
We never switch off – our phones are often the first thing we pick up in the morning and the last thing we look at before bed. We’re so focused on keeping up with what’s going on online, that we run the risk of missing out on what happening right in front of us.
A digital disconnect
There is an extremely powerful set of images entitled ‘Removed‘ taken by photographer Eric Pickersgill. He physically removed phones and tablets out of ordinary pictures, to show to we’ve become digitally disconnected from the people around us. And the results are pretty poignant. You can take a look at the full project here.
According to statistics from Time to Log Off, UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day on screens (more time than they are asleep). Over half of us admit to being ‘completely hooked’ on our smartphones and (sadly), 69% of kids say their parents spend too much time on their phones.
You can check out the full facts on our digital dependence and what it’s doing to us, here.
So this seems as good a time as any to attempt my first digital detox. But it’s not something that should be a one-off (although National Unplugging Day is a great way to kick-start it).
I recently connected with Mark Ellis, author of Digitox (how to find a healthy balance for your family’s digital diet), on Twitter and he offered me some very valuable advice, in the face of what seems like an overwhelming digital detox challenge. “It takes more than a day to do it. Try ‘no bedroom’ first, then a 7pm curfew – and then a day off.”
Will you join me?
So tomorrow, on National Unplugging Day, I vow to put my phone away from 8am to 6pm. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how I spend the time – and how it makes me feel. And if anyone has any Love Island gossip, you’ll just have to share it amongst yourselves, as I will be officially unplugged 😉