Since we started Time To Log Off in 2014 the global interest in digital detoxes has increased dramatically. We used to think that technology only brought positives, allowing us to work flexibly, connect with family across the world and widen our horizons. But there’s slowly been a change. We’re beginning to recognise the impact digital culture can have on our health, on our work/life balance and our relationships. So, one of our key predictions for the new decade is that 2020 will be the year of disconnection from our virtual lives and a reconnection to our ‘real lives’.
When our founder Tanya Goodin started her first digital business in the 90s there were only 50 websites in the UK – you could read it in a day. Today no one would be able to come close to reading the whole internet in many lifetimes. But all the information we receive and read is not uniformly good quality, it’s like a giant upturned bin! The constant stream of information and the pressure to be constantly connected is causing us stress and anxiety. Social media companies are deliberately addicting us to scrolling, and it’s not doing us any good. It’s time to reconsider our relationship.
Did you know the average time it takes a work email to be opened is now six seconds? We simply cannot shut off the constant grind. We check our phone last thing at night and first thing in the morning, the impact it has on our sleep alone is huge. Our hyper connectivity is also impacting our brains as we’re losing the important moments of silence and thought which stimulate our human creativity. If you never have a moment on a train, as you get ready in the morning, or even whilst you shower, of silence: no music, podcasts or frequent email checks – how are you going to learn how to be mindful? Everyone knows it, even Big Tech CEOs have caught on to the need for moderation, creating apps and systems to help us keep on top of our screen use, but they won’t help long term.
Even with all our hyper connectivity, we have never felt more alone. We all know how the comparison culture of social media has caused everyone to feel a little worse about their lives and more resentful of others, but the impacts stretch far beyond that. We have started texting instead of calling, using comments as a primary form of communication and putting less and less effort into meeting up in person – and when we do then phubbing our friends.
Our Prediction: A Year of Disconnection
New screen tools, and even a weekend digital detox won’t work, just like fad diets don’t. We need to see the real issue – the fake feeling of being ‘connected’ that the digital world promises us. We predict that the 2020s will be the decade that we recognise that digital connection can never make up for a lack of human interaction and we will all start to take this on board. We have already seen the beginnings. There is a stronger stance of no work connectivity at weekends being enforced, and people everywhere talking about deleting social media, or at least heavily curtailing their time on it. We can’t wait to see how this continues into our new decade!