First of all, we love technology. This isn’t a technophobic post about the dangers of AI and robots taking over the world, nor do we believe the internet is causing an overall “dumbing down” of society. We’re making Paperblanks eXchange cases for iPad mobile digital devices for a reason, after all! But, like anything, when you become dependent on technology to do your writing, research, organisation and even basic mathematics for you, you stop relying on your own abilities to problem solve creatively.
That’s why we’re suggesting a digital detox every once in a while. There are certain benefits of writing by hand that simply cannot be replicated by using a computer or smart phone, not to mention the intangible joys of seeing and experiencing art in real life. As the cold winter days melt away it’s a great time to start looking at the world around you in a new light. Unplug for a while and appreciate all that the non-digital world has to offer.
So go ahead – close that tablet case and set your ringer to vibrate. These are the very real benefits of taking a break from technology.
1) It will help to stave off “digital dementia”
Here on the Endpaper Blog we’ve talked a lot about the positive cognitive effects of going analog. In countries with the highest rates of digital usage, such as South Korea, doctors have reported “short-term memory loss, attention deficit issues and problems regulating their emotions” – symptoms typically associated with traumatic head injuries or age-related dementia – in young patients. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any permanent brain damage in these patients, suggesting the effects can be counteracted by a better balance between digital and analog experiences.
2) It will increase your empathy and altruism
Getting back to nature has long been viewed as a powerful and restorative experience. But do you know why? According to research by Frances Kup and William Sullivan (among many others), experiencing nature (even if that just means living near a green space) has a positive effect on your social processes, such as increasing trust and cooperation with others. Immersing yourself in nature can help to reconnect you with the ecosystem you are a part of, establishing a connection between your own life and those of your neighbours and community.
3) It will free up your “free” time
Even when you do have downtime, do you find yourself surprised by how quickly it seems to breeze by? Perhaps that’s because the average American spends 30% of their leisure time web surfing and two out of every three people find themselves checking their cell phone even if it’s not ringing or vibrating. Talk about dependency! By consciously removing that distraction you’ll be surprised how much time you have left to actually get out there and live life.
4) It will improve your posture
There’s a reason that standing desks have become all the rage in office culture – being hunched over a keyboard all day can quite literally drag you down. But it’s not just the typing that is a posture problem. Staring at a screen (computer, phone or tablet) usually requires a downward glance, and that angle is something our bodies adjust to over time. According to scientific data put together by Kovert Designs, after just three days of digital detox people’s posture began to improve because they were actually communicating face-to-face with other people. Looking someone in the eye, rather than downward at your screen, not only opens up your means of authentic and genuine communication, but your posture too!
5) It will boost your overall mood
In the United States, a staggering one out of ten people report depression – and heavy internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be among the depressed. Heavy social media use can contribute to feelings of loneliness, narcissism and dissatisfaction, yet many people continue to avoid actual human contact in order to check up on their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. So avoid the guilt that comes with cancelling plans and actually get out there and enjoy the company of your friends and family. It’s good for you!
Learn more from Tania Mulry’s Tedx Talk
About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.