More Than Ever, You Need to Put Your Phone Down

It’s almost odd to think about what the Internet was like in 2008, when Lifehacker first recommended making it a practice to “disconnect” from computers and smartphones one night a week, every week. At the time, Twitter and Facebook were in their infancy, and MySpace ran the social media space, which was a much friendlier – or at least less insidious – place. In a much smaller number of us were smart phones , not to mention the fact, to use applications for social networking, designed to turn us into digital addicts . The president did not communicate with the American public in the first place through angry tweets. In 2020, social media, politics and the pandemic have come together to make us even more addicted to our devices at the expense of our mental health. A study by Pennsylvania State University and Jinan University in Guangzhou, China directly links social media use to increased anxiety since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s time to put our fucking phones down.

Guy Raz, an NPR contributor, podcaster and author of the new book, How I Built It, agreed when speaking with Lifehacker earlier this month . He points to his weekly digital detox day as the only thing that keeps him sane this damn year. As he explained:

[M] Lifehack: I don’t use any electronic devices one day a week. We chose Saturday because it really looks like a day off, and Sunday is the day people start asking questions about what should happen on Monday. So on Friday night my wife and I pick up our devices, we pick up our kids’s devices and lock them up. And we spend Saturday like family in the 1990s, 80s or 70s, in front of the screens. And sometimes we get bored, and we play board games and go hiking. And we sit, talk, our children complain that they are bored, and this is great, because children no longer have the opportunity to be bored. So this is what we have been doing for about a year, and it has greatly and dramatically improved my life.

This is something I have known for a long time, but especially this year – especially last week , during which the suppression of a coup attempt by internal FBI terrorists was only the fourth strangest thing to happen. it is becoming increasingly clear that this is vital. The news loop will continue to revolve around whether I update Twitter or not. I need at least one day of blessed silence (even if it causes withdrawal symptoms).

Again, this idea is not new; We’ve also written earlier about National Disconnect Day , organized by the people behind the Sabbath Manifesto , which encourages people to avoid technology once a week to read a book, go outside, look inward, and connect with friends and family. And while following Guy Raz’s lead and disconnecting from all technology is probably best, I think you will be fine this year if you can just get away from the noise of bad news by turning off your social media feeds, even if you do. it’s immersed in a video game, watching a movie (can I suggest something old and black and white ?) or drinking some comfy TV ( Cobra Kai on Netflix is ​​a real genius). Anything – anything – is better than maintaining the status quo.

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