Maybe we need it. Many studies have been published over the past year to show how addicted people have become to being constantly connected. From smartphones to tablets, whether the use is personal or professional, we find it more and more difficult to restrain ourselves from checking our Facebook or Twitter accounts every other minute. It’s getting to the point where we’re increasingly ignoring the people actually around us in favour of checking our phones for updates and notifications.
But what is it really about? There’s actually no such thing as a real medical addiction in this area – none proven to date at least – but there’s a clear tendency to turn the close relationship one has with technologies into a pathology which translates into verbal expressions such as: "addicted" to mobile, "binge watching” (like binge drinking, but swap the booze for a box set), NoMoPhobia,(a phobia of having no mobile phone) or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) which has grown out of the explosion in popularity of all forms of social media. It affects both professionals, who generally feel so connected to their job that they can’t help checking their emails in case something major happens, and our personal lives, as it’s now acceptable to share whatever you’re doing with the entire community.
As these habits spread, many people are now nostalgic of a time when technologies were not so omnipresent in our lives. There was a time when we could make an appointment with someone and honour it without confirming twenty times before. A time when we used to go on holidays and instead of posting a selfie or a Facebook status we actually sent handwritten postcards to friends and family.
In our highly materialistic world, people have changed their hierarchy of needs, and technologies now play an increasingly important role. Lately, we’ve seen a will to go back to the basics and really take time away from technologies. Most brands understand this new trend and use it skilfully. For instance, the Spa Hotel “Les Célestin Vichy” based in the French thermal city Vichy in Auvergne launched a Digital Detox program last spring which, for a mere €1480, helps you disconnect from your mobile phone for four entire days of thermal therapies. When you arrive at the spa, someone walks you to a safe in which all your devices will be locked for the duration of your stay, just like you would use a safety deposit box at a bank.
When you think about it, the digital detox idea may not be so bad once in a while, given how much digital information we’re bombarded with these days, but do we really need specialist services? Is a homemade approach, whether by just reading books, or taking walks really so difficult to achieve?