Electronic gadgets are an ever-present part of our modern life and have revolutionized the way we work, play, think, communicate, and make ourselves happy. Over some time in a major way from books to business, there is a major shift towards e-version, like e-book and e-business, where ‘e’ represents electronic. Watches are converting to smartwatches and phones have already become smartphones and lifestyle companies are recalibrating their strategies to venture into the e-market too. In an era of e-learning and e-earning, it is practically not possible to keep oneself away from electronic items. The issues start arising when we start paying increased attention to electronic gadgets and fall as a victim of addiction. Dr. David Greenfield, Ph.D., founder of the Centre for Internet and Technology Addiction said that “ Pleasurable behaviors are addictive ”.
The law of practice says – we become good and eventually better what we practice and practice. This is true for good practices as well as bad practices. We unknowingly or knowingly ( ! ) keep on allowing distraction by using excessive smart gadgets and over a period that becomes habitual. Gloria Mark who studies digital distraction at the University of California said that it takes about twenty minutes to come back to the previous task once you are interrupted digitally. That is why digital distraction and students’ poor performance are directly co-related. The Harvard Business Review says that people constantly check their phones, laptops, tablets with fear in mind for being late in responding to a social media may be classified as FOMO ( fear of missing out ), FOBO ( fear of being offline ), Nomophobia (fear of being out of mobile phone contact).
Certain studies showed the following alarming digital distraction infographic reports or maybe called as digital distraction statistics –
- Studies show that the mere presence of an electronic device will generate diminished attention, lower task performance, and reduces cognitive capacity.
- On average, a person receives 65 notifications in a day, that makes one in 15 minutes
- 91 % of millennials say that they have a healthy relationship with technology and they check their phones around 150 times a day
- 50 % of baby boomer group checks their phones during their meal time which is pretty high
- 74 % of mobile users between the age of 18-34 immediately open their app the moment they feel bored.
- 65 % of Americans experience digital eye strain and more people are experiencing neck pain for uninterrupted looking down at electronic devices, a phenomenon called “Text Neck”.
- 53 % of people wake up at least once every night to check their phones.
- The blue light-emitting LED ( Light Emitting Diode ) devices are detrimental to sleep and accelerate skin aging fast.
Tips to Manage Digital Distraction –
- Control your thoughts – Controlling thoughts and boundary-less desire are critical to refrain us from anything we wish. Since time immemorial it has been heard that – Mind your thoughts, they become your actions; Mind your actions, they become your habits: Mind your habits, they become your characters: Mind your characters, because your characters will eventually lead you to your destiny. That is why the most respected Roman emperor and famous philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said- “ The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts”. It is an obvious fact that sometimes, particularly for millennials it is not the requirements but their uncontrolled and mismanaged thoughts provoke them to check the electronic devices now and then. This makes them check their phones on an average 150 times a day and more than 50 % of another group of people check their phones waking up at midnight. The digital affinity or digital slavery can be overcome by controlling our thoughts and committing to ourselves not to touch e-devices unless those are required.
- Digitally Responsible – We have to be a strong believer and responsible to use technology in a way that does not harm others. We need to be highly aware of the negative impact of technology on health, society, and the environment at a large.
- Helpful or Hurtful – Learning and distinguishing between helpful act or hurtful distractions are critical. Fighting fire with fire sometimes works. Researchers found that in many cases engaging virtual reality ( VR ) games can be more effective in reducing certain types of pains. The challenge lies in understanding the proper therapeutic level if any before it becomes habitual.
- Developing a positive psychology mind – Having a positive psychological mind to conquer digital distraction is a possible way to handle chronic issues. This is your desire management which is a conflict between your desire and self-control goals. This is a part of our everyday life and equally applicable for digital distraction desire. Here positive psychological mind plays a significant role.
- Digital Detoxification – According to the definition from dictionary.com the digital detox can be defined as – a period during which a person refrains from using digital or electronic devices to break a pattern of excessive or compulsive use, and instead prioritizes face-to-face social interactions, mindfulness, harmony with nature, etc.
This is a specific pre-decided period ( usually one week / two weeks or maybe extended ), when a person voluntarily refrains from using digital devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, or any kind of electronic device. This form of detoxification nowadays has gained tremendous popularity as individuals can reinvent themselves and his mind gets renewed and rejuvenated. In the 21st century, the hectic schedule made people forgotten that there is a life to be enjoyed and experienced. The major Purpose of digital detoxification is to aware of the followings –
- Regaining the Creative skill – The required skills were STEM ( Science + Technology + Engineering + Mathematics ) has now turned to STEAM ( Science + Technology + Engineering + ARTS + Mathematics ). A major component of Arts is Creativity. Creativity combined with cognitive thinking and imagination can do wonders, but sharpening these skills only possible when one is away from electronic gadgets.
- Enhance problem-solving abilities – Digital detoxification helps to be attentive leading to faster information processing, analyze, judge, and finally solve problems. As mentioned earlier that a study report from the University of California says it takes approx. twenty minutes to re-concentrate our diminished attention caused by digital attraction and thus consequently impacts problem-solving abilities which can be handled.
- Reconnect Yourself – Connecting to oneself, understanding own strength, analyzing weakness, realigning plans, accomplishments, happy feeling, contended state and finally reconnecting with nature once in a while is a boost to establish bondage between mind, body, and soul. It is not possible to complete the whole circle when you are encircled with e-gadgets. So, “Do it now! It can affect every phase of your life. It can help you do the things you should do but don’t feel like doing…….” Napolean Hill
- Better Health and relationship – Sitting with someone and looking at digital devices indicates that what is on my phone matters more than you. The flip side of the situation proves that social health and good relationship not only boosts our immune system ( A network of cells and proteins that defend the bodies against infections ) but also reduces stress hormones, anxiety, depression and inflammation and pain gets subsided. Check Immune System booster on Amazon. A lot of influence by digital devices leads to a lack of socialization and improper relationship which is found to be even more detrimental than smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure too. Measure your regular Blood Pressure. Check On Amazon
- New Ideas – When you are away from your electronic stuff and under digital detox program you can look around yourself. You start talking with people around you, listening to them, can learn, unlearn, your senses are awakened, you rediscover yourself and new ideas can get propagated in the system from anything in and around you. As rightly said by Alfred Hitchcock that “Ideas come from everything”, but one has to be present to observe things”.
Message to Carry – It is needless to mention the enormous power and influence the digital devices have in today’s era. The critical point is whether we utilize devices and internet connectivity or we are utilized by digital modes! Our connectedness is now so total that a recent British study says that we pick up our devices in every 12 minutes and that is roughly 80 times during one day’s waking hours. In today’s fast and hypercompetitive scenario changing habit and not only one digital detox session but keeping a regular detachment practice from electronic gadgets can help a lot to beat digital attraction. In the Bhagwad Gita it is said that – “Detachment does not mean you do not own anything, it means nothing owns you”. So true .. and …Let us start following the principle of Cal Newport , the renowned professor and author of self-improvement books “Leave the distracted masses to join the focused few.” Read books of Cal Newport On Amazon
So, from a usage perspective how are you planning to be a part of the attachment and detachment cycle of electronic gadgets? How will you leave the distracted mass and be a part of a focussed class?