December 2016, article published originally in El Periódico de Catalunya
Friday afternoon you load the car and head to a wonderful hotel with your partner. It’s in the middle of the country, green meadows, high mountains, deserted beaches, unknown places. So unknown that they don’t have coverage. Wham! You can’t send or receive messages. None, to anyone. They don’t have WiFi either. They’re all over the country. There aren’t many but, if you want, you can find them. Their offer, besides the setting, is total disconnection. Analog life by force, but voluntarily.
Have you tried it? I know. Goosebumps. For my part, when traveling to other parts of the world, I’m usually not connected 24h/7d (who’s the brave one who wants to pay for a mobile data plan?) and, I admit it, at first it made me anxious but after the initial withdrawal you get used to it and you even like it. It’s like being in the movie “Back to the Future” (the sequel). We have an addiction in contemporary society, our particular drug being bits. We are digital junkies, and I’m getting unhooked. It drains me to always being on, always right now, the tyranny of now. And it bores me. I don’t want to fill anymore micro-moments with the latest of the latest format in post, tweet, or news feed.
The digital world is impossible and unadvisable to turn off forever. But it’s about time to give reflection a chance
If the answer to the question when was the last time you turned off your cell phone for 24 hours, is I don’t remember, then you too are one of us. You need disconnection. You have been selected to participate in a program of digitals anonymous. Hi, I’m Pablo and I’m digital-dependent.
Digital detox is good for our families, friends, neighbors, and above all ourselves. It allows us to pay attention to what we want, of our own free will and without external stimulation. So let’s give a gift to ourselves this Christmas: turn off for a set amount of time (24 hours?), cell phones, computers, tablets, and laptops. If you’re serious about it, you can add the radio and TV (this last device only with the strict supervision of a specialist). In my case, I turned the television off forever in 2012. I had to start somewhere (I know, I live on the edge). Maybe I have less to talk about than the average mortal (regrettably, I don’t know what’s happening in Big Brother 17), but I’m still alive.
The digital world is impossible and unadvisable to turn off forever. But it’s about time to give reflection a chance. More than half of the parents in Japan – a country well known for its technology affinity – are worried about the possibility of their kids being addicted to cell phones. It’s time our digital ignorance be transformed into digital sense. I don’t intend to turn off my digital connection but I’m beginning to ask myself what I want it for, when, how, and with whom.
Welcome 2017! I’m not afraid. Where are we headed? How about if we start by going on digital detox?