Digital devices are increasingly dominating our lives these days. Many, if not most of us are addicted to them. New studies emerge with alarming frequency about the dangers to our physical and mental health of being glued to our small screens. Children are not exercising; people are worrying about their body image because of online pressure from "perfect body" sites; and people are being bullied (or worse) by cyber-criminals. In a study of 1,000 adults in Japan, researchers discovered that nearly 50 per cent of the participants were addicted to their smartphones, but were unaware of their smartphone dependence. The study is one of many clarion calls for "digital detox" to become part of our lives.
The practice of digital detox involves switching off from the Internet to enjoy something called "real life". This involves the bygone custom of conversing with people face to face and "doing everyday stuff". The organisation Digital Detox Japan said: "We want detox to be a catalyst for people to rethink their distance from their devices…to set aside time to get ample rest." People need to rely less on devices to avoid the new phenomenon of "nomophobia" – NO MObile PHOBIA. Psychologist Dr Kia-Rai Prewitt warned of the dangers of being too absorbed in smartphones. She wrote: "If you ignore responsibilities at home or work because of the amount of time you spend online, then consider a digital detox."