8 April 2020

Nomofobia…any idea what this is a fear of? It’s the fear of being without your mobile phone; unreachable and unable to answer any calls or messages.

The fact that a word has been created to describe this fear that we feel without our phones shows that something is out of kilter. It seems maybe we can’t live without this piece of technology.

Detox: Yes or No?

There’s been a lot of talk about how we should try to relate more healthily to digital technology. But there are competing views on how this can be done. One view commonly suggested is the digital detox, alternatively called a digital Sabbath. Sabbath is a Jewish and Christian practice where for one day a week no work is done because it’s a day to rest and enjoy the goodness of life. A digital Sabbath similarly suggests we should have a day or a period of time in which we are free from our mobile phones to be present in the world.

The alternative view responds by stating the idea of detoxing assumes that digital technology is toxic and bad for our health. Instead, we should still use our devices each day but find healthier ways to use them so we don’t experience anxiety when we’re separated from them.

What approach is more helpful for you?

If we think that we need to have some space from our digital devices, because we are overly dependent on them, how could a day a week be used differently? Could a phone-free Sunday be a time to read, catch up with friends in person or enjoy a new hobby?

However, if we feel we just need to better manage our use of technology, how could this happen? Could it be that we decide to use certain tools ­­- such as a clock, alarm, or journal – in their original form rather than on our phone? Or even create no phone areas such as the dinner table or bathroom?

The choice is yours. But it’s worth ensuring that fear does not define how we feel when we’re away from our devices so that we can all relate to digital technology more healthily.