The 21st century is the "age of technology," where our devices have become an indispensable — and omnipresent part of our lives. Excessive use can lead to addiction and an expert has argued that putting our relationship with these devices on pause from time to time is the antidote we need. Deniz Ünay, a social media specialist, warns that the desire to live a virtual life through the use of high-tech devices can hurt one's performance, business and social life, and urges the use of periodic technology detoxes as an antidote to this problem.
A technological detox means a person taking a break from using high-tech devices or social media sites, thereby gaining the opportunity to go deeper into their thoughts and achieving inner peace, according to Ünay.
"We must take technological tools out of our lives for a while and let our mind, body and soul rest," he said. "If we constantly look at screens, watching for notifications, we waste time and energy and damage ourselves."
"We must seriously think about practicing a tech detox," he said, adding that this practice can lessen the physical and mental damage wrought by excessive use of digital devices. Tech detox is not simply limited to avoiding devices, according to Ünay, as one should also steer clear of social media platforms during certain periods to enjoy freedom.
"To do a detox, we first disable notifications from social media accounts, or rather turn off all notifications on our phones," he said. Urging people to unplug from their cellphones, especially during social occasions with friends, family members or colleagues, he said people should stop "concentrating their lives on a small screen."
"It's good to look out the window or even close your eyes for a few seconds and relax for a few minutes," he said. Unay suggests that staying away from high-tech products for only a couple of days can significantly boost our mental condition, as not wasting time and energy on this "tech addiction" strengthens our spirits. The idea of a "tech detox" has gained momentum in recent years, and more and more people and groups have begun taking steps in this direction, for example with the "Technological Sleep Festival" program implemented by the province of Izmir, in Turkey's Aegean region. In this program, participants hand over their phones to the authorities and stay away from technological devices for 48 hours, instead spending their time exercising, socializing, reading books, playing sports and enjoying face-to-face conversations. Many digital experts urge adopting the "5:2 method," under which after the five-day workweek, people shy away from high-tech devices from Friday night to Monday morning, said Unay, calling it an easy but effective strategy.
"Technological detox has become a must for anyone who wants to lead a healthy life," he said. To some, a high-tech detox might sound like going too far, as they believe they do not spend too much time on their phones or computers. But in fact, over a year's time, spending over two hours per day on screens adds up to almost an entire month. As humans grow more accustomed to using such devices, we tend to lose our connection with nature, nearby friends and social life, and edge toward a robotic-type existence. So deliberately going a bit primitive from time to time might be a good way to maintain our humanity.