Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

(Jeff Huting/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Jeff Huting/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How four people are undergoing digital detox Add to ...

Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail

Yiorgos Boudouris

Age: 30

Occupation: Employee relations

City: Calgary

Screen time: 12 hours, 35 minutes (1 hour on smartphone, 11 hours on laptop, 35 minutes on tablet)

E-mail: 50 received, 43 sent

Texts: 43 received, 38 sent

Twitter: 15 tweets and retweets

LinkedIn: 1 post, 1 comment, 7 messages sent, 2 received

Detox: “My first hurdle was to remind myself not to go online. So I put up Post-It notes around my condo and on my devices at home and at work. If I didn’t put these up, I no doubt would have gone online.”

“My phone was kept in a drawer at home. No way could I have it on my person and not have accidentally-on-purpose checked BuzzFeed, or Twitter, or The Globe and Mail. The phone needed to not exist for the day.”

“I failed at the end of the day. I was crawling into bed, brought my laptop with me, and by the time it was too late, I was knee deep in reading Ohnotheydidnt. Once I failed, I failed hard.”

“The drawback was feeling disconnected. I didn’t feel isolated because I was still interacting with folks. But I was only connecting with what I could see and hear around me. That’s not satisfying. There’s so much going on around the world that I want to feel part of.”

“Honestly, I’m not convinced there are benefits. Our tech is so mobile, that it doesn’t prevent us from doing other things. I can text while my dog and I are at the park after all.”

“I’m appreciative that we have these tools. Our ability to search out knowledge is easier than ever. What I was taken aback by was how much of my day was and is spent staring at a screen. This can’t be good, can it? For my eyes, for my focus, for my overall health? I’m still stuck on this.”

Galit Rodan for The Globe and Mail

Paula Coop McCrory

Age: 39

City: Toronto

Occupation: Elementary school teacher

Screen time: 12.5 hours (including 5 hours on laptop, 3.5 hours on iPad and 4 hours on smartphone)

E-mail: 133 received, 35 sent

Texts: 17 received, 15 sent

Twitter: 5 private messages, 1 retweet, 4 favourites

Pinterest: 46 pins

Detox: “Out of habit, I woke to my cellphone beside me in the morning wedged under the mattress but there. I did check the time. Without even thinking, I had already failed the detox.”

“One of children has woken with the flu. Focusing on him solely and not being distracted or having access to my laptop or phone is a good thing. I can feel the anxious shakes being replaced with the simplicity that I have no distractions. Just what is in front of me is what I have to be concerned with. I feel like a better parent. Not being on anything electronic is refreshing.”

“Working within social media on mornings, evenings and weekends and suddenly missing a day was hard.To not have either my cellphone or laptop just felt wrong. As the day progressed, this feeling grew. Questions like, ‘Is it still cheating if I check my account through my husband’s phone?’ or ‘If I ask my oldest to check mommy’s phone so he can practice his ‘reading,’ that’s not considering bending the rules – is it?’ This inner battle carried on through the day.”

“It was good to do this. It made me look at myself, my behaviours and my weaknesses. The rational part of me knew all was ok, that I wasn’t really missing anything but I still had to fight the want to check –in and push aside the inner anxiety, through the day.”

“The detox has made me more aware of just how reliant I am on my cellphone when I am out. Between texting my husband and the nanny, taking photos, checking emails to keep up with clients, speaking with clients, posting to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest + Facebook, it is my go-to all through the day.”

Galit Rodan for The Globe and Mail

Adam Ferraro

Age: 26

City: Toronto

Occupation: Strategic planner in advertising

Screen time: 10 hours on mobile, tablet and laptop (including 30 minutes of Netflix, 25 minutes on YouTube, 8 minutes on Skype, 3 minutes on Vine, many apps)

E-mail: 40 received, 35 sent (work and personal)

Texts: 15 received, 20 sent

Tweets: 2 tweets

Facebook: 1 status update

Detox: “Immediately, I went to the worst place and was thinking about if my friends got home safe from a party the night before and if there were any family emergencies.”

“When I woke up I kind of had the feeling of regret and was worried that I’d be a bit bored; I wake up pretty early, even on weekends. Instead, I just cleaned the entire apartment, made breakfast for my boyfriend and read a physical copy of a newspaper and looked through an old photo album all before 10 am.”

“There were a bunch of transit delays on my way to rugby practice, I couldn’t check my nextbus or rocketman app, luckily people in Toronto are super friendly, so striking up a conversation with transit staff and people waiting at the bus stop was an easy way to pass the time and get recommendations on alternate routes.”

“After making very loose plans with friends the night before, I realized I wasn’t really sure what the plan was for my Saturday night. Inevitably, I decided that instead of hanging out at home I would just go out to the spots I’d be sure to run into people I know and it worked out pretty well.”

“A day of being kind of withdrawn from the digital world I’m so heavily invested in made me want to seek out human interaction and socialize, more so than usual. I see myself as pretty social person, but being removed from my online communities definitely triggered a desire to see and talk to people.”

Dalia Lucchetta

Age: 30

City: Toronto

Occupation: Supervisor in media planning

Screen time: 18 hours (including 9 hours on computer, 4 hours on phone, 5 hours of TV)

E-mail: 247 received, 155 sent

Texts: 161 sent, 164 received

Social media use: 3.5 hours total, checking Facebook and Instagram throughout the day

Detox: ” I spent the night before my dissent into the pre-smartphone 1980s writing a farewell e-mail to my parents, and texting my closest friends that I was going dark. They could still call me - but who makes phone calls? Important to note I didn’t call anyone, and nobody called me.

“At 11:55pm Friday night I checked Facebook and Instagram one last time. I went to sleep feeling confident and excited for the technology break. Then I woke up at 6:30 Saturday morning with a crippling cough. In desperate need of cough syrup I stumbled to my car, convinced the local Shoppers Drug Mart was 24hrs. It was not. I instinctively I pulled my phone from my purse, prepared to Google map the nearest open pharmacy then remembered I was “unplugged.” I felt very alone. I drove until I found a convenience store, purchased overpriced syrup and went back to bed.

“I was lonely without my smartphone. I could have called someone, but I didn’t.

“Not having an easy tether to my friends and family, my meagre errands and daily observations were noticeably more dull. watched a movie and had a glass of wine – this should have been peaceful, but it wasn’t enough. I itched for another screen to check while watching a movie - this caught me off guard. Not feeling the pressure to respond to texts or check in to my social networks should have been freeing. I had much more of a FOMO (fear of missing out) than I anticipated: I was actually counting the minutes to midnight. At 12:01 a.m., I Facebook messaged my best friend to reconnect.”

Follow us on Twitter: @ZosiaBielski, @amberlym

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories