Are you spending too much time on your phone?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about the benefits of a digital detox…..

Our dependence on digital devices is approaching epic proportions. American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or interacting with media, according to a study by market-research group Nielsen. That’s up from nine hours, 32 minutes just four years ago.

The positive side of that equation is that we’re generally well informed. But the negative side is social. We don’t deal well with other people. And we have difficulty with writing and other tasks requiring creativity.

According to an Inc newsletter by Geoffrey James, our over-exposure to the internet:

  1. Makes it more difficult to remember facts
  2. Can create addictive behavior, especially in gamers
  3. Can trigger feelings of jealousy and loneliness
  4. Increases suicide risk, especially in teenagers
  5. Makes you generally less empathetic
  6. Can result in chronic insomnia
  7. Distracts us from deep thinking and analysis

James suggests a one-day digital detox in which we put down our screens and our phones in an effort to “reset” our brains. Neuroscientists who’ve made such an effort themselves, according to the post, have found the following benefits:

  • Their amount of eye contact with others  increased
  • Their postures improved
  • Their conversations became more engaging
  • They remembered more
  • Their sleep patterns improved
  • Many made “breakthrough” decisions

To get maximum benefit from such a detox, James says, do it with family and friends at the same time. My thanks to Ann Gomez who included the link to this article in her excellent Clear Concept newsletter.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on July 29/19.

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