What’s a Tech Detox (and Do You Need One?)

Technology is everywhere. Phones, tablets, TVs computers… even toys have the hottest new tech in them these days.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either; technology has improved our lives in countless ways. Of course, being overloaded with tech 24 hours a day isn’t necessarily a good thing either.

For some, the best way to deal with the constant deluge of a tech-heavy society is by taking a “tech detox” and getting it all out of your system. Does this sound like something you might need? Perhaps even more importantly, would you recognize the warning signs of tech overload if you started to experience it?

Tech Overload

When we become too reliant on technology, we sometimes find ourselves being distracted from the world around us.

You likely see this every day with people checking their phones during dinner, messing with a tablet or laptop while watching TV or otherwise disconnecting from “real life” in favor of a screen or device.

Sometimes this is referred to as technology overload, though it’s also known as tech addiction or phone obsession. It’s just the latest variant of having too much of a good thing, and for some people it’s turning into a major problem.

What’s the Harm?

Tech overload may seem victimless, but studies have shown that it can have a legitimate negative effect on quality of life and even health.

Staying stuck in your phone or device all of the time can hurt your social life, cause you to become distant from friends or family members and in some cases can even do serious damage to relationships and partnerships. It can affect your work, cause you to miss out on important events in the lives of those you care about and can even run afoul of local ordinances or state laws depending on where you are when you access your device.

Worst of all, overuse of phones and digital devices can lead to lost sleep and tank your productivity. Headaches and eye strain may also result from staring at a screen for extended periods of time. As more studies are done on long-term tech addiction, more details keep emerging of just how harmful a phone or device obsession can be.

The Tech Detox

As the name implies, a tech detox is focused on removing the toxic effects of digital device use from your life.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your phone or tablet permanently, either; instead, a tech detox usually separates you from your devices briefly and gives you a chance to reconnect with the world around you.

Sometimes a tech detox takes the form of a camping trip or other journey into areas where technology isn’t easily accessible. The goal is to physically remove yourself from the temptation to get in front of a screen and connect to the online world. It’s usually a “cold turkey” event where you have to give up all of your devices at the beginning and don’t get them back until the end.

Depending on where and how the detox occurs, it can be a day-long disconnect, a weekend event or even a retreat that lasts a week or longer.

Do You Need to Detox?

Look at your life and how much time you spend on a phone or other digital device.

  • Do you use them appropriately, or do you constantly check for new messages or status updates even when you haven’t received notifications?
  • Do you use your devices when you’re in the company of others, especially to do more than see what a notification was for?
  • Do you have to check your devices before you go to bed, or after you’re in bed and before you go to sleep?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, it may be time for a tech detox.

It’s important that you remain honest with yourself about your tech usage, and that you take the time to evaluate it periodically to see if it’s out of control. While technology may play a major part in your life, for your health and well being it’s important to know when to step back and clear your head.