Digital detox

Charge your own batteries instead of your smartphone's. More and more people are discovering the advantages of going offline occasionally. "Digital detoxes" are a major trend.

The term "digital detox" has been included in the Oxford Dictionary of English since 2013. It's no longer the height of fashion to be constantly online. Digital detox methods are part of modern life. Withdrawal treatments and detox counsellors and programmes are booming.

During a detox, digital media and electronic devices are put aside for a time. This includes smartphones, laptops and the Internet. On detox days, all electronic communication is avoided. This isn't so easy, as Swiss homes are well-equipped in terms of media. Every day, 3.6 million Swiss check their emails via their smartphone. A WhatsApp message arrives every 13 minutes. 70% of smartphone owners reach for their phone an average of 85 times a day – pure digital stress.

"Smombies" and Swiss youth

The results of the JAMES study 2016 show that online use has increased in recent years. Young people, especially, are spending more hours online. In comparison with two years ago, those aged 12 to 19 are spending an average of 25% more time online. On weekdays, they spend an average of two and a half hours per day surfing on their smartphones, tablets and other devices, and even more time on the weekends. They mainly use WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. A third of them use online streaming services to watch films or series on a daily basis or several times a week.

Since 2015, there's been a word for people who constantly stare at their smartphone and check out from their environment. The word is a combination of smartphone and zombie: "smombie". In 2015, the Langenscheidt publishing house chose it as the youth word of the year.

Constantly being online also poses new challenges for families. Increasingly, this makes it necessary to set clear rules, such as an absolute ban on smartphone use during meals or family outings.

Risks of being constantly online

The intensive use of digital devices carries risks. In Switzerland, around 5% of young people display symptoms of addiction. They have a hard time even putting their smartphones away, and suffer withdrawal signs if they try to stop. These include a depressed mood, anxiety, and agitated, nervous behaviour. Don't let it reach that point. Thanks to our tips, you can get started right away with your digital detox.

Starter package – how to become a digital detoxer

Make time for digital detox hours in your daily family life. Detoxing with others is easier. Our tips will help you.

Just switch off

Set aside daily windows of time to be offline. Just switch off your smartphone and put it away. Perfect for eating dinner with your family. Try it out for yourself.

Letterbox rule

Do you run to check your letterbox every five minutes? Probably not. So, don't do this with your email inbox. Limit yourself to checking your personal emails once a day, and enjoy your new-found time with your family.

Create offline zones

Create phone-free zones in your home. For example, in the bedroom, so that you and your children no longer take phones to bed.

Forget your phone

Simple but effective. Try it out. Just leave your phone at home. This is also great for family outings.

Detox holiday

Take a vacation from the digital world. Now there are even digital detox and offline hotels, camps and monastery stays. This way, you and your family will be sure of getting some peace and quiet.


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