So basically, getting addicted to the Internet was a supremely expensive venture and most people managed to limit their usage.
Fast forward to 2016, and we’ve all pretty much got unlimited access to the digital world for just a few $$$ per month. Whether you’re ten-years-old or a hundred, the age of information is there for everyone. And while smartphones, laptops, tablets and Kindle’s certainly have their pros, excessive use can have damaging effects on our lives, including our relationships.
But how do you know you’re in need of a digital detox? How do you know when your attachment to your smartphone is having an adverse effect on every aspect of your life, from your health to your work?
If you’re worried that you’re in the throes of a digital addiction, here are a few reasons that will help you figure out whether or not a digital detox is in order.
You Have A Meltdown When You Can’t Connect To The Internet
Picture the scene: You’re having a whale of a time talking to people in a chat room. You’re having a laugh and even doing a bit of flirting.
And then bam! your Internet goes off just as you were about to ask a guy for his twitter handle.
Panic stations abound. You desperately refresh but to no avail.
You switch the router off and on but still no Internet.
You realize the situation is real and grave and that you’ll probably never have the Internet ever again. No more chat rooms, no more online shopping, no more cat videos omg!
Your Facebook will become a cemetery. RIP your Facebook.
Twitter will shut your account down due to inactivity and assume you were just a bot to begin with.
You convert to Buddhism and pray to Buddha for help and guidance in this post-Internet world and imagine life as an Amish from now on.
And then, just like that, the Internet reappears and you realize you panicked for nothing. It was no big deal, just a slight glitch in the system.
If you literally cannot survive for two minutes without the Internet, it’s a definite sign that you’ve got it bad.
You Sometimes Get Blurred Vision After Looking At A Screen
Blurred vision can be really scary, but there are a few possible causes. But when someone is in the grip of digital addiction, they might deny the real cause of their symptoms:
“No, I am so not addicted to the Internet! I’ve probably got to change my phone. That’s all.”
This kind of adroit denial is a surefire sign that you are in need of a digital detox 101.
According to research, blurred vision after too much time spent starting at a screen is very real. If you experience symptoms such as dry eyes, fatigue, neck pain or redness around your eyes (plus blurred vision) you should definitely reevaluate how much time you’re spending in front of screens.
You Check Your Social Feeds ALL THE TIME
You check your social feeds while you cook dinner.
You check them as you eat dinner.
You check them as you wash up.
You check them just before you get in the shower…and straight after you come out, soaking wet and steaming, probably damaging your phone’s chip in the process. But who cares? You need to check for updates d#$%it!
You go for a nap and wake up after ten minutes, grab your phone, squint and try to make out whether anyone has posted on your wall. Tired and weak, you drop your phone on your chest. It hurts.
This kind of constant checking your social feeds is really unhealthy, and it’s especially annoying to the person whose company you’re supposed to be enjoying. If you literally cannot eat a meal without your phone by your side, alarm bells should be ringing that maybe it’s time to stop for a bit.
Social Media Is Actually Adversely Affecting Your Life
While social media can certainly be a great way to stay in touch with our friends, it can also be really damaging.
The problem is that it’s really easy to compare our lives with the lives of others. And this can make us feel bad if everyone is getting married, picking out cars and hunting for homes. While we’re bingeing on ice cream in our slacks. At midnight. Again.
If you know that social media is actually making you feel bad about yourself, it’s high time that you took yourself out of the firing line for a bit. Give yourself a break, and be grateful for what you’ve got going for you.
It’s one thing recognizing that we need a digital detox, and quite another actually taking action.
Digital Detox Action Plan
A good way to start is by disabling your social media accounts. Then, consider leaving your phone and laptop at home for the day while you go out for a long walk.
Don’t keep your devices on you at all times. Leave them behind for a bit. Don’t even tell your friends what you’re doing. Just do it and get away for a while. You need this.