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How to disconnect …

See more of The Globe’s guides to living well, exclusively for subscribers


How to disconnect from your device

Drew Shannon/The Globe and Mail

Are we addicted to our devices?

People are over connected, but there are ways to manage and minimize the damage. Since cellphones aren’t going anywhere, author Neil Pasricha and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain discuss ways they’ve learned to control their behaviour around their devices.

Tips for reducing your screen time
  • Find ways to reduce reasons to look at your phone (disable some notifications, set do-not-disturb periods) to turn your technology habits into better ones, and give yourself more time – to read more books, to cook a meal, to catch up with a friend.
  • Try a short-term digital detox to redirect the energy and attention given to social media, texting and binge watching back to yourself and your sense of purpose.
  • Have you ever grabbed your smartphone to check the time only to be inadvertently bombarded by notifications, and the feeling of stress that comes with them? One surprisingly simple strategy to disconnect: Wear a watch.
  • These customized apps can help you cut down on your screen time, allowing you to set up your own goals by cutting down slowly or going cold turkey.
  • Some restaurants are using design to discourage cellphone use, while others prohibit the devices so that guests can better appreciate the design of the space.
Why a dumbphone can be a smart decision
  • When Randy Boyagoda bought a new phone with no camera and no apps (if urgently needed, he could go online by tethering a laptop to its built-in modem), he found choosing dumb wasn’t that stupid.
  • Jake Howell writes that buying a phone without smart capabilities felt healthier than the overwhelming iPhone he had been using, despite people thinking he was crazy.
  • In this essay, Pasquale Casullo writes that he knows the Internet is necessary for survival, but he connects by disconnecting. He keeps a notebook to scribble topics to look up next time he’s online, either in a coffee shop or in a peaceful corner of a library during working hours.
  • Katie Hewitt explains why her husband loves new tech, and why she is inherently suspicious of it.
How smart will smartphones get? A look at the possibilities

Experts agree it’s tough to predict exactly what the smartphone of 2029 will be like, but the prospects are both thrilling and creepy. If you needed any more reason to cut down on using your phone, this might be your push to start changing your habits before it becomes even more addictive.

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How to disconnect from social media

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Can we ever kick our addiction?

Constant use of social media, too much screen time and digital dependence are changing the way our brains are sculpted. What are big companies and big tech to do? Jim Balsillie, former chairman and co-CEO of Research in Motion (now known as BlackBerry Ltd.) and co-founder of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Norman Doidge, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author, discuss.

The case for cutting the social media cord
  • In her new book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, writer and artist Jenny Odell says we’ve lost our connection to our community and are living in an attention economy.
  • Allison Hall’s muscles tense up when she looks at her Twitter feed. She believes that like her children, she’s being programmed to expect instant gratification.
  • During an occasion like an election, social media becomes a hotbed of lunacy. Elizabeth Renzetti makes the argument for getting off it – voters and politicians alike.
Social media, kids and families
  • How do you tell family members to stop posting pictures of your kids on social media? Advice columnist David Eddie weighs in.
  • One couple rejects the idea of sharing their engagement on Facebook, and letting the whole Internet in on such a private moment.
  • It isn’t surprising that parents are sharing more on social media, but they should ask themselves if they’re modelling the type of behaviour they want to see in their children.

How to disconnect while travelling

Illustration by Jiayin Lu

Tips to limit your phone use on vacation
  • Before you leave the house, read this quick list of ideas to help you get your phone out of your hand so you can make the most of your travels.
  • Have you already replaced your travel guide with your smartphone? Don’t dismiss vintage guidebooks, which have delighted a segment of collectors for decades.
  • Akanksha Singh writes that she discovered the perfect way to stay in touch while traveling. A digital postcard is not just a method of communication, or an alternative to text or e-mail or social media. It’s a way to be engaged.
  • It is possible to enjoy a vacation if you’ve forgotten your cellphone at home, as Heather Martin experienced over four days away with no text, no phone, no Google, no camera, no Instagram, no maps, no Uber, no e-mail.

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