4 hours and 30 minutes. This is the average time an adult spends in front of a screen each day. Yes, it’s a lot! Imagine all the things you could do if you had 4.30 more hours each day… So how about trying a digital detox? As you know, it consists in completely or partially limiting the use of screens. The detox can last an hour, a day or even a whole month, depending on what you decide to do. The most important advantage is that it can improve the quality of life of your whole family. Indeed, the time spent on our Smartphones is not without consequences for our children.
The consequences of our digital addiction on our children
Sometimes, I spend time with my son without really being there. I'm next to him, he is playing, he talks to me and I'm on my phone looking at my emails or worse, things that do not have any importance! Something tells me it happens to you too, right?
This attitude is harmful for the development of our children.When we are spending time on our Smartphone, we miss important moments of daily interaction with them. These are the precise moments that contribute to the construction of our connection with our children, but also that help their cognitive awakening. In recent years, Science has observed, for example, a language delay in children under 3 years old, concentration disorders, difficulties in regulating emotions… The deterioration of interactions between parents and their children are part of the problem.
Studies show that an adult who is addicted to his Smartphone ignores his child's solicitations 5 times more than if he were distracted by something else. This lack of attention can sometimes even endanger children. In Australia, the lack of parental attention due to the parent’s consulting their Smartphone is one of the first causes of children under 4 years old drowning!
If, like me, you are determined to start a digital detox, in particular to spend more time with your children, here are some tips that can help you.
Tip 1: set your limits
To start a digital detox, you must first set limits on the time in front of screens. If your job requires you to be on your phone or on your computer, set yourself working hours.
It can also be time slots, moments or areas where the phone is banned. For example, if you decide that time with your children should not be interrupted by your phone, put it on silent mode and put it in a corner so that you cannot have access to it. As for the areas, you can decide that the bedroom or the kitchen are now places where there are no screens.
Do not hesitate to explain your approach to those around you so that they do not worry if you usually respond very quickly to messages.
Tip #2: Clear up your Smartphone
Take the time to clear up your apps and emails. Remove the apps you do not use. Then unsubscribe from newsletters you never read. Also sort through your emails by deleting those that you have read, replying to those that are pending and archiving the others.
Tip 3: buy an alarm
Yes, I can already hear you saying "but the problem is that I need my phone in my room because I use it as an alarm clock" and once the phone is on the bedside table, the temptation will be too strong and you will find yourself surfing on the internet until late!
So the simple solution is to buy an actual alarm clock (remember, a little box that just shows the time and rings in the morning). That's it, you no longer have an excuse to take your Smartphone with you into the bedroom!
Tip #4: Block notifications
All applications are designed to attract our attention as much as possible.
There are 2 solutions: either you suspend the notifications of certain apps, or you suspend them all. It's quite drastic, but it will allow you to consciously decide when you open the app to see what is happening.
A beneficial experience
You will see, a digital detox is not as difficult as it looks! And above all, you will quickly realize that it is worth it. Why ? Because you will have more time… to live!
You will replace the time you spend on screens with other activities. Reading, listening to podcasts, playing with your children, playing sports, cooking, walking…
In addition to this, you will feel the effects of digital detox on your mental health very quickly. We do not realize it, but constantly receiving notifications disturbs our concentration and generates stress.
If you are unable to do a digital detox on a daily basis, you can set yourself a goal over a month: the first week, no Smartphone at home, the second week, no television, etc
You can finally consider something more radical and organize a digital detox vacation or weekend. Plan it if possible in a place where there is no wifi and no network! You can also challenge your friends and try the experience together.