Is your family feeling a bit disconnected? Or maybe tired of screen-filled nights? Your family might be in need of a digital detox. Keep reading to learn seven benefits of a digital detox that can help your family thrive again.
“There is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.” – Anonymous
One of the reasons I love getting out into nature so much is because of how it forces me to be unplugged. I don't enjoy the fact that I feel like I need to get away from home to encourage getting off social media. However, the ease of simply not having the option to use many of my electronics makes much more simple at times.
As our family grows, and the more I work with technology or social media on a daily basis, the more I see a need for digital detoxes. The more I understand reasonings behind giving up social media entirely or going on a wi-fi free vacation. And truthfully, the more I'm pulled to implement changes for our family.
If you're looking for a reason to do a digital detox for yourself or your family, I've got seven that can change your life almost immediately.
Benefits of a Digital Detox for Families
You may get a better night's rest
As a mother to a toddler, getting a good night's rest is like hitting the lottery. Those blissful nights are so far and few between that I don't remember the last time I slept through the night. It's probably been at least three years since I was always having to pee in the middle of the night when I was pregnant.
If you're one to bring your computer, phone or tablet in the bedroom with you when you're headed to bed, now is the time to consider a digital detox – specifically before bed. Ditching the electronics at night can align our circadian rhythms and help us fall asleep quicker. This is because blue light that is emitted from phones, tablets, etc can interfere with our natural ability to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body understand when it's time to sleep and time to wake up. By interfering with this natural process, your body may struggle to understand that it's time to go to sleep. This, in turn, can result in too little sleep, restless nights, or even insomnia.
The same is true for our kids, who need more sleep than we do. So if you're cosleeping, you might be affecting more than just your rest at night. Even if you aren't cosleeping, keep this in mind for kids who have phones or tablets that they may bring to bed with them.
You'll become more mindful
Electronics are fantastic devices for mindless activities. Reading the news, scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed, playing mindless games, checking for texts… there are an endless amount of things that you can occupy your time with on your phone. By doing a digital detox, you’ll become more aware of your own thoughts, emotions, or even experiences.
When we’re more mindful, we’re much kinder to ourselves and those around us. We’re less likely to speak without thinking and actually engage with and care about loved ones. We are less likely to feel victimized and are better able to express our frustrations, concerns, or emotions. We’re able to celebrate and embrace the good moments in life much easier, too.
I don’t know about you, but I think every family can benefit from being more mindful of each other and live much more intentionally.
You’ll have more free time
Looking for more time to do the things that actually matter with your family? That camping trip that you just can’t make time for? That family game night that never happens? Those family meals that are always rushed?
Do a digital detox and you could gain around 90 minutes a day considering that's how much time the average person spends on their phone each day. That’s 23 days a year or 3.9 years of the average person’s life. I don't know about you, but I can think of a lot better things to do with almost four years of my life.
What could you do with an hour and a half today? A lot, I bet. What if you used this time to check in with your spouse or kids to see how they were instead? Or to go on a scavenger hunt with them? Or finally read that book you’ve been putting off? Or got back to journaling, cooking healthier meals, or exercising instead? That’s a TON of free-time you get just by skipping this one thing.
Imagine what would happen if your entire family spent that 90 minutes together even a few days a week. You just got time with one less distraction – take advantage of it!
You’ll be happier
Want an easy way to ditch some of your stress, anxiety, or depression? Digital detoxes are where it’s at!
Chances are some of your phone time is spent on social media. Spending a significant amount of time on social media can quickly lead to comparison. You can quickly see what trips you aren’t going on, the houses that are cleaner than yours, the meals that look better than yours, the kids that experience more than you can offer your kids, the promotions you wish you had, etc. They say comparison is the thief of joy, so ditching that cause of envy or jealousy can make us feel a bit better about our lives – even if nothing changes.
Did you know that 48% of people 18-34 will check Facebook when they wake up? That’s huge! That’s nearly 50% of that age range that is opting for Facebook updates instead of pursuing a healthy morning routine that fills us with joy, a feeling fulfillment and/or a deeper connection with our loved ones.
You’ll take a step back from multitasking
There are plenty of reasons to stop multitasking, but how does a digital detox fit into this? With your phone constantly at your side, in your hand or on your cheek – you’re more likely to attempt to multitask.
How many times have your kids absentmindedly agreed to something you said while staring at their tablet? Or how many conversations have you had that include “mmhmm” as a response while someone clicks away at a game? More than you can count is my guess.
By giving up social media or doing a digital detox, you’re removing one thing from your myriad of things to think about and giving yourself the opportunity to be more present. You’ll also give yourself a better chance at giving your all to tasks at hand without the constant distraction of emails, texts, and notifications.
You'll be able to set your own boundaries
Constantly emailing people or responding to social media at all hours of the day and night? It makes it sound like you’re pretty available for any problems that arise. I’m guessing you don’t want your clients thinking that you’re always available for them. And you may not want your family wondering if you’re actually going to take that vacation with them or just be there in your physical form.
You may not be able to take a full digital detox, but you could set hours where you take a break from social media and email. Hours that you’re either not working at all or even working hours where you’re doing things that don’t rely on social media or email. You’ll likely find yourself more productive and your boundaries will be set for your clients, customers, and family.
You'll be a positive role model for your children
By constantly being behind a screen, you're teaching your child this is how you live. Whether you're working or even having fun, you're reinforcing the idea that screens are necessary for a fulfilled life. Ditching the technology for a digital detox on a regular basis shows them that we don't need these things to thrive. We can teach them instead that they are tools that can be used responsibly and then we go on with our lives, not dependent on them for happiness.
These benefits of a digital detox are just the beginning of what you can experience when you give up technology or social media – even temporarily. Depending on what you and your family do with your time, you may find even more benefits come naturally.
Unsure how to make a digital detox work for your family? Come back next week and we’ll discuss various options of how you can make them work, even for the most connected families.