Who amongst us hasn’t heard of the “digital detox”? In essence, the digital detox is the process of ridding oneself of toxins and unhealthy substances generated by prolonged technology use. In the past few years, digital detoxing has grown from an idea to a brand to, for many, a guide for how to think and live.
Today I’m writing to note that the digital detox should die, and for good reason.
Let’s get to the facts: There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that in our current era of TVs, computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, we overuse technology. These tools of technology have fundamentally changed how we communicate. Today, these tools function as essentials for completing everyday tasks at home and in the workplace.
The usage figures themselves are more than a little shocking:
- In the U.S., 87 percent of people in their twenties use two or more digital devices simultaneously.
- 67 percent of people in their thirties spend more than five hours each day on a digital device, also in the U.S.
- 90 percent of adults in the U.S. aged from 18–29 use social media — this is a seven percent increase over a 10-year period.
- 99 percent of people in the U.K. between the ages of 16 and 24 use social media weekly.
- The majority of Norwegians between the ages of 13 and 39 spend 46.6 minutes using technology in bed every night.
For personal research, I’ve even used an online survey to assess how much technology people I know use per day, with over half of my participants reporting a daily use of over five hours.
This technology overuse is increasingly, though often indirectly, linked to conditions including stress, anxiety, social isolation, depression, and insomnia. All of these are known to contribute to burnout, but I predict that the digital detox is just the wrong solution to this problem of technology overuse.