Two weeks ago I gave the 9th grade students at Cranbrook Schools a challenge. I asked them to take a break from technology. Take a Facebook vacation. Reduce their video game use on the weekends and spend more time outside. Put their phones away during lunch. Spend less timing texting and more time talking (face-to-face). Essentially, I asked them to decrease the digital caloric consumption.
Our digital health seems to be spiraling out of control. So many of us feel the need to constantly be plugged into to our smart phones, social media accounts and other devices that keep us “turned on”. I feel like we are on the verge of becoming digitally obese.
Throughout my life, I’ve attempted to stay in shape. Both mentally and physically. As many of you know, this can be a difficult feat. It’s so easy to eat pizza instead of salad. Or attempt to exercise three days a week (inner monologue—I’ll wait to start running as soon as it warms up outside). To top it off, I’m constantly “doing stuff” which often gets in the way of taking care of myself. Spending that quiet time to ask… why am I feeling so stressed out? Why am I not sleeping well? Why am I in a bad mood? And a number of other thoughts that cross my mentalspace as I avoid taking time for my mental and physical wellness. But what about my digital health? How do I stop binge eating emails? Why is it so tough to stop obsessively checking my iphone (even when I’m driving). Why do I check Facebook before I get out of bed in the morning? I’m constantly wondering how this is impacting how we feel. How we think. How we interact with our friends and family.
As I think about the students at Cranbrook, I wonder how they are holding up at the halfway point of the Digital Diet Challenge. Are they motivated to reduce their digital dependencies? Are there any students that have reduced their digital vices? How does it feel to take a vacation from Facebook? When I go back in mid-April, I’ll be able to ask them directly. In the meantime, I think I’m going to delete Facebook from my phone and set some time aside to exercise this week. As for pizza, I’ll save that for another month
BTW, here is a great way to manage your digital health: www.mymentalspace.com