Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at the positives of digital technology and we’ve looked at the negatives. Clearly we need help to manage digital technology in a way that will maximize its benefits and minimize its dangers. Next week I want to introduce you to a number of practical helps towards this. But in the meantime, how do we detox, how do we wean ourselves and our children off digital heroin, and how do we minimize withdrawal symptoms and the chances of a relapse?
Let’s first define what an addiction is: It’s a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.
That fits digital addiction doesn’t it?
Second, let’s identify diagnostic questions to help us figure out the nature and extent of digital addiction. This is a vital step towards detox. There are two main areas to focus on–quantity and quality. Use an index card and try to keep a daily record of these two measures.
How many hours a day do I spend on my devices?
Include all your devices: phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, video game console, etc. Do not include time spent purely for vocational purposes. Include browser time, text time, and App time.
How many times a day do I use my devices?
Someone may not spend 10 hours a day online but they may be ruining their day by checking into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email fifty times a day. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. According to Time magazine, the average American checks their phone 46 times a day and for the average teen, it’s 74 checks a day.
How useful/valuable/productive/healthy is the time I spend using my devices? This is not just a question about whether some activity is moral or immoral, but whether it is wise or foolish, important or trivial, valuable or worthless.
Even just recording this information should have immediate benefits. I’ve given this and similar exercises to a number of people, and every single one of them has said that they were shocked to discover how many times they were going online, how long they were spending there, and how most of what they were doing was such a waste of time. Just doing this simple exercise made an immediate impact on the quantity and quality of digital data they consumed.
DIGITAL DETOX QUESTIONNAIRE
But if you’re really serious about detoxing, then you need a more sophisticated tool. Try this Digital Detox Questionnaire. To make the best use of it:
1. Download the pdf.
2. Have a look at the questions to find out what to measure each day.
3. Complete the questionnaire at the end of each day.
4. Total your points to find out where you are on the digital addiction scale
- 100+ You are passed-out drunk on data
- 60+ You are drunk and disorderly
- 0-30 You are sober and almost tee-total!
5. Repeat exercise a week later to see if you are making progress in your digital detox.
The aim is gradual reduction and you probably need to do this a couple of times a month to keep on top of it.
Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships. Digital Technology is Killing our Productivity, Digital Technology is Killing our Souls.