Are you always hooked to your smartphone or gadget and do you find it difficult to disengage? Celebrate this Diwali differently by going gadget-free. We tell you how to do a digital detox as a family.
By Ashwin Dewan
No playing with mobiles and tablets. That is the motto of the Sharma family this Diwali. Last year during the festivities, Ritika’s 14-year-old son Rishabh was constantly hooked to his mobile, playing games and watching videos. Hence, he was distracted and would not properly interact with guests or help with the household chores. As a result, his parents were upset that he did not fully participate or involve himself in the festival. So this year, after talking things over, the Sharma family has collectively decided to go gadget-free during the week of Diwali. All of them will only use their phones to take (or make) important calls.
It is not just youngsters like Rishabh, we adults too are equally guilty of becoming addicted to our gadgets, to the extent that we often miss out on the little things in life — eating together as a family, helping each other decorate the house, visiting relatives together, etc. Devices are of course, a necessity and a huge part of our lives, but at the same time, they can also a hindrance during festivals. So, why not go back to the time when we rarely used tech? To a simpler, less tech-driven life?
What's more, a festival is an auspicious occasion to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Instead of a body detox, embark on a digital detox this Diwali. It too can be good for health.
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Today, technology has simplified our lives in ways we could never imagine. From watching movies to ordering food, from wishing a loved one, to posting images and sharing family moments, everything happens at the click of a button or the touch of a screen. Technology is now so much a part of our daily living that many of us, especially the younger generation, are getting addicted to gadgets. This is taking a heavy toll on relationships, home life, work, school and health.
According to a study, 'The Impact of Using Gadgets on Children', in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety in 2018, an average child spends almost eight hours a day watching electronic screens.
So, how can we counter this gadget-addiction? One way to do this is to go the digital detox way! It means taking a break from all your gadgets one day at a time. We have become so used to technology that we are unable to spend a few minutes without it. Shutting out gadgets will help us re-focus on life and prioritise what is important. A digital detox is the period when a person refrains from using any type of gadget.
How can you do a digital detox this Diwali?
1. Make a list of gadgets: Before you decide to undertake a gadget detox, make a list of devices that you currently use. If you are using more than one mobile, try shutting down the second one. This will enable you to cut down on excessive technology use. What’s more...you will get extra time to do activities or help around the house.
2. Try to take a gadget break before Diwali: It may be difficult to stop using all your gadgets at once. So, set aside time before Diwali and go to a place where there is no cellular connection or WiFi. This will get you into a state of gadget detox and by the time Diwali comes around, you will be ready to enjoy the festival without any distraction.
Note: If you are unable to get away to a no-tech zone/place, just call your service provider and have them switch off the connection for a few days until you are ready to resume using it.
3. Switch to a basic model for a few days: When the mobile phone first came out, it served the basic purpose of calling and receiving calls along with SMS (short message service). This meant that people spent less time on their mobiles. Over time, the device transformed into a sleeker, smarter version that helps you do practically everything — click and send photos, play music, watch videos and chat. This, in turn, has resulted in people spending more time on their mobiles rather than 'being' in the moment. Switching to an older model will mean you cannot use it for anything other than making or receiving calls. So, you will have lots of time on your hands, use it well — help in decorating the house for Diwali and cleaning up stuff!
4. Work on your gadget settings: This is a no-brainer. Turn off your phone notification settings especially for social media apps. So, you won’t be disturbed by constant pings from notifications or alarms from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube every time someone contacts you or likes a post.
5. Set a specific time to check your phone: Of course, it may be tough to completely avoid the phone. Try to set a specific time every day, during the festive season, when you allow yourself to log into your phone and check for calls and notifications. The time setting can be 10 minutes, 20 minutes or even half-an-hour. During this time, you are not going off social sites entirely but choosing when to access it. Inform your friends that if it is urgent, they can reach you on your parent’s or relative’s phone or on the house landline.
6. Switch to aeroplane mode during Diwali: If you are someone who cannot stay away from your phone for too long, it is okay to keep your phone with you. However, put the phone on aeroplane mode during certain periods of Diwali such as a religious ceremony or when greeting relatives. After the formalities are done, you can always disable the aeroplane mode.
7. Change one technology habit at a time: Try to begin your gadget detox during the festive season by changing your technology use, one habit at a time. For instance, this could mean not checking your emails when at the dining table, watching videos before sleep or logging into social media sites every few minutes. Once you start this, you will realise that you now have a lot more free time to use more productively.
Going off gadgets especially during the festive season, when you see others posting images and videos every few minutes, is bound to be difficult but not impossible. The biggest fear most of us have is that people may not be able to reach us if we stay away from our gadgets. So, try leaving your phone with a friend or a relative and tell them to inform you in case something urgent comes up.
Keep in mind that children learn by example. When they see you making a conscious effort to keep off gadgets and wholeheartedly celebrate Diwali, they too will follow suit. As a family, embrace the spirit of the festival. Bring light and laughter into your life. Happy Diwali!
About the author:
Written by Ashwin Dewan on 11 October 2018.
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