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Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers. It is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress, focus more on true social interaction and connection with nature in the physical world.[1] Claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, and an overall better appreciation of one's environment.[2][3] The best way to detox is by going into nature.[4] Studies have shown that blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of “stress hormones” like Cortisol all decrease faster in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.[5]

Digital detoxing is a growing phenomenon that serves as a reaction to the information overload coming with new media and digital connecting devices. Smartphones, laptops and tablets, combined with the increasing wireless Internet accessibility, enable technology users to constantly be connected to the digital world.[6] Constant online connectivity may have a negative impact on the users’ experience with electronic connecting devices and result in a wish to temporarily refrain from communication technology usage.

In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after putting down their phones to spend time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. [7]

The motivations behind digital detoxing vary. In some cases the motivation is negative emotional responses to the technology usage, such as dissatisfaction or disappointment of the technology device and its functions. In other cases, users see the technology as a distracting factor that consumes time and energy, and want to take back control over their everyday lives. Some people have moral, ethical or political reasons to refrain from technology usage, such as fear of violation of their privacy. Furthermore, a concern of developing addictive behavior in terms of tech addiction or Internet addiction disorder is one of the motivations for disconnecting for a period of time.[6]

Constant engagement with digital connecting devices at the workplace is claimed to lead to increased stress levels and reduce productivity.[8] Certain characteristics of the technology make it more difficult to distinguish work from leisure. Moreover, being continually connected increases the amount of interruptions at work. Allowing employees to disconnect for a part of the day in order to truly focus on their work without disturbance from colleagues is claimed to be beneficial to the productivity and work environment.[8]

The connecting devices’ multitasking character has a serious impact on the learning ability. Multitasking implies operating on a surface level, which only involves the short-time memory.[9] Using multiple connecting devices as learning platforms is therefore not beneficial. A reduction of information choices enables the brain to focus more on the quality of the information rather than the hastiness of it.[10]

The Smartphone App Offtime is some sort of digital detox light and supports a daily digital balance.[11]


Other benefits of digital detoxEdit

  • Good mental health: There is a growing concern among scientists that indulging in these ceaseless disruptions caused by digital devices is not good for our brains in much way that excessive sugar or fat and other things we tend to crave are not good for our bodies.[12]
  • Better human relationships: With digital detox, it is possible to maintain a better relationship. Many people have bad breakups because of a cultural shift from face-face communication and shorter attention span. Spending more time on social media platforms than interacting with people face-to-face in the physical world has a preventing effect on the development of communication and social skills.[13]
  • Increased Productivity: Mobile devices and gadgets often cause distractions at work leading to poor performance, carelessness, absent-mindedness and failure.
  • Good Posture: The physical effect of too much technology will be reduced. Such effects include wrist, arm and shoulder pain, ears roaring, eye strain, and lack of sleep.[14]

Digital detoxing is no longer a concept but a reality as people and organizations have started adopting it in order to achieve a balance in the digital age. Device-free events such as retreats and holiday camps are now been planned for people to get away and relax. Some hotel guests pay hundred dollars a night to have their phones locked up.[15][16]

According to a recent report majority of people would rather go without food and other daily staples than be without their mobile devices, therefore digital detoxing is not as simple as it sounds.[17] Symptoms include lack of concentration, a feeling of irritation if separated from your device or when your battery is running low, looking at your phone first thing when you wake up, ignoring people while you are at your digital device, and reduced productivity resulting from overwhelming use of digital devices.[18]

In popular cultureEdit

Personalities such as Amy Borkowsky are popularising and challenging the assumed level of dependence on and neccessity of mobile telephones by having mobile telephone free periods.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "digital detox: definition of digital detox in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  2. ^ Kohli, Sahaj (2014-07-16). "Here's One Big Sign It's Time To Reevaluate Your Relationship With Your Phone". Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  3. ^ "How To Do A Digital Detox". Forbes. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  4. ^ "What Happens When We Reconnect with Nature". Greater Good. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  5. ^ USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Back to Nature Journeys. "Science Backs Healing with Nature". Science Daily. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  6. ^ a b Morrison, S., & Gomez, R. (2014). Pushback: The Growth of Expressions of Resistance to Constant Online Connectivity. In iConference 2014 Proceedings (p. 1-15).
  7. ^ "How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing". Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  8. ^ a b Ayyagari, R., Grover, V., & Purvis, R. (2011). Technostress: Technological antecedents and implications. MIS Quarterly, 35(4), 831-858.
  9. ^ Smith, J. L. (2013, December 28). Switch off – it’s time for your digital detox. The Telegraph.
  10. ^ Brabazon, T. (2012). Time for a digital detox? From information obesity to digital dieting. Fast Capitalism, 9.1.
  11. ^ Wall Street Journal Germany - Digital Detox explained, 27.07.2014 Archived 2015-12-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Brabazon, T. (2013). Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness. Farnham, Surrey, UK England: Ashgate. Pg 20.
  13. ^ White, T. R.(2014). Digital Social Media Detox (DSMD): Responding to a Culture of Interconnectivity.
  14. ^ Huffington Post.(2014, July 10).Go smartphone free: Ditch the gadgets and try a digital detox. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  15. ^ McGinnis, S. (2008, Jul 16). Hotel guests pay $500 a night to have blackberrys confiscated. CanWest News
  16. ^ BlackBerry addiction for Rocky Mountain high. Archived 2014-11-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  17. ^ Bank of America Newsroom.(June 30, 2014). Hold the phone: US consumers wouldn't last one day without access to their smartphone. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  18. ^ Bodycomb, S.(July 28, 2014). Link me, like me, follow me... do you need a digital detox? Action and Research Centre.Retrieved 2014-11-01.