Given how integral technology is to our day-to-day lives, it's only natural to feel a bit naked without your phone. For nomophobiacs, defined as those with a fear of being without their mobile phones, the dependence is much more pronounced. In fact, there's an institution in Southern California that focuses on rehabilitating individuals with this specific form of anxiety.
The war against hyper-connectivity is a new one, but over the past year, TrendHunter.com's research has detected a growing movement to help dampen our Internet dependence. It's focused on health and wellness movement, but moves beyond simply what we eat and the ways we exercise our bodies. It's bleeding into the concept of promoting healthy balance for the mind as well.
Events like Innocent Un-plugged weekend, which takes place in the British countryside, allows attendees to get off the grid completely – no electricity – and enjoy other's company fully with forest banquets, crafting classes, wood-fired hot tubs and live music. It's put on by Innocent, a U.K. company that got its start selling their smoothies at a music festival in 1999 and promotes natural and healthy living.
Going without electricity may be a little extreme for some, but there are urban options popping up as well. Folk Rebellion is a lifestyle brand that recently partnered with popular (and trendy) Willamsburg Urban Cowboy B&B to create a 24-hour "digital detox" experience. They dialed back to a time millennials probably faintly remember with no phones, disposable cameras and even non-digital room keys.
Even large companies like Cabela's, a hunting, fishing and camping company, are getting in on the anti-connected sentiment building up. They've created a microsite where people can pledge a personal "disconnect day" to put down their phones, tablets and computers to "reconnect with the great outdoors." The only login allowed during the pledge period is a log put in a campfire.
Detox days are only the beginning. Ironically, apps are being created to better mitigate nomophobia. Flipd is one such Toronto-based application available in the Google Play store. Realizing mobile habits are hard to break, the app allows you to set blocked off periods that "locks" your phone from any app use. One of the co-founders of Fliped, Alanna Harvey, says, "When we created the app, we thought parents would download it, but we realized that we launched the app, we saw the students were downloading it and using it if they needed to study. We didn't see that coming."
It's ultimately millennials who are most interested in the digital disconnect since the fabric of their social lives are woven into the digital world. The fear of missing out (referred to as 'FOMO' by most under the age of 40) is certainly the most intense with his demographic.
Luckily, the first step in fixing any problem is admitting there is one, and it looks like with the popularity of digital detox events and other tools on the rise, more millennials are looking to unplug and get in some real-life face time.
Shelby Walsh is the president of Trend Hunter, the world's most updated, largest collection of cutting edge ideas.