Are you thinking about the appeal of a summer unplugged? As lockdown gradually lifts and we all stumble blindly away from our screens we now have an opportunity to create a new balance in our relationship with tech.
It’s recommended by the WHO that children under the age of 5 consume only one hour of digital media a day, accompanied by their parent, and that older children should not spend more than two hours a day on screens. Yet as lockdown stopped us from communicating with family, and stymied all our attempts to find entertainment out of our homes, children and adults have been spending more and more time online. In Australia, the average usage of WiFi across the country increased by 70-80% during the lockdown.
However, after all that screen time, everyone everywhere now seems to want to switch off. Three quarters of American families say that they plan to take a digital detox after lockdown. So, here are some tips to help you experience the benefits of our our annual campaign to enjoy a summer unplugged.
1. Meet in person
After months of being trapped at home, we all appreciate our friends more don’t we? Human connection is vital to our wellbeing, and our friends are a big part of that. You could have a picnic in the park or go for a walk in the sporadic sunshine, you will be amazed at the difference in your interactions once you are physically together (socially distanced of course) not communicating through a screen. Just make sure you’re not phubbing them!
2. Get some sleep!
This is one of our most oft-quoted tips. Get an alarm clock and leave your phone outside the bedroom. This way you can be doing a digital detox as long as you are asleep! You will be amazed at the difference in your sleep quality. You won’t be able to scroll in the middle of the night, and the blue light won’t keep you up either- win-win!
3. Go outside
The longer the summer goes on the more we’re allowed to be outside so take advantage of it. Playing a game, hiking a mountain or sitting on the beach – there’s a way for everyone to enjoy the outdoors – find yours. Spending just two hours a week in nature can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. So, whether you have been sheltered or unable to get to nature because you live in a big city, make it a priority this summer.
4. Eat screen-free
Many of us have been living with our families for months, 24/7. Others have been isolating alone. But however you have spent the last 12 weeks, we can all agree that conversation and connection have been an important part of keeping us all sane. So why not ban screens from mealtimes and focus on the food you eat and the people you share it with. You can also ban screens if you are living alone. Eating without screens can be a useful way to reconnect with your thoughts and be more mindful of what you are consuming.
5. Start small
After months of mediating our lives through our smartphones, it can be intimidating to suddenly go cold turkey and do a total digital detox. Take it slow. Turn your phone off (or put it on silent at least!) whilst you engage in other activities. Consider leaving your phone at home when you go out, even if that’s just to the shops. Or maybe during your summer unplugged you could just pick a single hour every day when you avoid all digital devices?
Bonus: Support each other
It’s a hard task to overhaul our digital habits so tell those around you to help you stay accountable and support others who are on the journey too. Together we can create a new world of balanced behaviours.
Let us know how you’re getting on (only occasionally) by using the hashtag #SummerUnplugged to signal your intentions and share your successes. It can also serve as a way to remind your friends you won’t be glued to a screen this summer!