No tech, no talking: Can I survive a three-day digital detox? | CNBC Reports


That’s me eating lunch alone, without
any technology and in total silence. Let’s rewind. We’re only about 10 minutes away from this
retreat, and I’m feeling a bit nervous oddly. I’m attempting to do three days
of a total technology detox. It’s at a place called
Bali Silent Retreat. That’s the GPS in bahasa. And it isn’t just about giving up your phone and
gadgets, but also about giving up talking too. Kind of like when you’re about to go on a
roller coaster, you know you gotta do it, but you’re not necessarily
eager to do it. And as part of this journey, I’m exploring how the
increase in technology use has created an entire new billion dollar industry of events and, ironically,
apps aimed at helping us to unplug and chill out. I’m definitely an extrovert so it
will be weird not be able to talk. My smartphone journey began back in
2007, when I got my very first iPhone. But has our smartphone usage evolved into
a smartphone addiction since then? I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to technology,
but I’ve definitely noticed myself using my phone
more and more. And in a hyper-connected world, can I even
survive three days without my phone? Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs,
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Maps, Uber, Slack; All of these kinds of apps
that I’m so used to using. A recent study found U.S. adults spend 10 hours
and 30 minutes per day interacting with media. We’re pulling up. I’m nervous. Why are you nervous? I think because I like to talk. I can tell. Wow. Social media has gone up dramatically
for U.S. teens over the years. And about two thirds of parents said
they’re concerned about their teen spending too much time
in front of screens. Yet simultaneously, 36% of parents said they
themselves spend too much time on their cell phone. My phone has already gone down to 3G, it’s like I’m
transitioning to the start of this three day retreat. While there’s no denying the benefits
smartphones have added to our lives, what are the downsides
of too much screen time? One study found a higher rate of depression
and anxiety among young adults who engage many social media platforms,
compared to those just using two. Hi, hi! The retreat costs me
about $85 per night, which includes vegetarian food mostly
grown on or near the property. I‘m going to turn in my phone,
my laptop and even this camera. After this line, it’s pretty much complete
silence, so these are my last few words. I don’t know why I’m laughing,
maybe I’m nervous. I feel lost already. And that’s pretty much as far
as the camera is allowed to go. While I attempt three days of silence,
let’s go back to my trip to London, where I began to explore the booming
billion dollar mindfulness industry. Tech fatigue, as it’s called has inspired events
worldwide focused on meditation and unplugging. I’m at a wellness festival
here in London which has everything from yoga to
panels on how to avoid burnout. It’s taking place over 24 hours, and naturally,
it started at 6am with a sober rave. I meet two attendees
who live in London. So, you both have cracked screens, I feel
like that’s a sign of a well-lived life. Yeah, no, that’s me out dancing. Do you guys feel like you’ve become addicted
to your phones in the last few years? Yes, 100%. It’s really sad and it’s the
fact that I’m so aware of how bad it is for you and
how it’s affecting everyone, and I can have so many conversations
about it, but yet I still am just as addicted. Have you taken any
steps to combat that? I’ll take a book out with me one day instead of my
phone and try and distract myself from using it. I’ll put my phone on airplane
mode every night at about 10:30 and know that I’m not going
to use it until I wake up. Both Apple and Google have introduced tools to help
us track and limit the time we spend on our phones. Sure, it’s a bit paradoxical that
these tech giants want us to spend less time using their
products and services. But it’s also an acknowledgement that yes,
we are spending too much time on our phones. What is the solution? Maybe highlighting the negative effects
of always being on your phone. I know it can cause headaches, things like that,
probably things that we can’t even know. There’s so many things that they’ve
come up with that are off-putting but it hasn’t really helped
us though, has it? I don’t know what
really would. I think education, literally in primary school,
you know how when we were young, it was like, “Drugs,
don’t do drugs.” An electronic device
though, isn’t a drug. Yet many people I speak
to equate it as such. Social media addiction releases
dopamine from the brain and that’s the same as taking cocaine
or being addicted to gambling. This is Joseph Pack. He tells me
he used to work 13 hours a day, which resulted in him having multiple
seizures. And he ended up in the hospital. Social media companies and apps earn their
keep really by keeping people engaged, and if the apps are set up to keep people hooked
in, that’s going to create unbelievable addiction. That incident inspired him to start a career
where he now helps people prevent burnout. His company provides mental resilience training
and puts on workshops for remote organizations. But how do we find a balance of using
technology in a healthy and limited way? We spoke to someone who thinks he’s
found a solution by using technology. Rich Pierson is the co-founder and CEO
of the meditation app, Headspace. Technology can be used
as a force for good, but I’m not sure that we’re using
it correctly at the moment. Smoking wasn’t a weird
thing back in the day. We may look back at our smartphone
usage and how we’ve used technology in the same way that we’ve
potentially looked at smoking. The platform now boasts
45 million users. Meditation and sleep apps have
raised hundreds of millions of dollars. I’m not sure that we fully understand the
effects that all of this technology is having on us. He says we need to have a healthier
relationship with our devices. But wait, his solution
is on a phone, and isn’t our phone the thing that’s
causing us our issues in the first place? The phone is just a piece of
metal, plastic and glass. So if it’s sitting on the table, it’s
actually doing nothing to you. It’s just sitting there, it’s an object. But our relationship to it,
I think is not quite right. He hopes meditation eventually
becomes as common to people as, well, brushing their
teeth every morning. While his solution to a calmer self,
is meditating daily through an app, you’ll recall I took a more
extreme approach. Let’s go back to Bali to see how a complete
and total digital detox affected me. …2, 1! I did it, I can speak! Wow! I think I lost my voice after
three days I haven’t spoken. I wouldn’t say I missed my phone that much
at all to be honest, I really just missed human interaction and music and movies and
videos and stuff, but I didn’t actually miss the phone per say, I just think the phone
is a tool that allows for all of those things. I would instinctively reach
for my phone because I saw something I wanted to
take a photo of and I couldn’t. Also, it was really hard not to constantly Google
things, I had all these things come to mind like, what is the population of Bali or what
is the population of Indonesia. I just had to sit with not knowing the answer,
but I guess I can Google that now. By day two, I really started
to miss people and music. I’m the kind of guy who always has music playing or
walking to work with a podcast or music in my ear. So the silence was starting
to just be kind of boring. Yes, the birds are chirping and that was
nice, but I really just missed music. Also on day two, I had a hard
time at night falling asleep. Usually when you can’t fall asleep you can
reach for your phone, watch YouTube or Netflix or maybe even a meditation app that will help
you fall asleep, but now I couldn’t do any of that. I just had to rely on myself and I
reverted to actually counting sheep. Day three for me was
actually the hardest day. By now I’m super bored, I miss interacting with people,
I miss music, I miss stimulation, I miss screen time. I know once I turn on my phone I’m going
to fall back into that loop of news feeds, and likes, and posting and retweets and that
incessant stream of news and information. I’m going to turn it on for
the first time in 72 hours. I kind of just want to turn off
my phone and go back in. But I’m also excited to see how my friends
and family have been doing, I guess. No it’s true, I’m excited to move on.
This I was a good experience. The question is how do you discipline yourself
to not spend too much time on these apps. And it’s hard. Hey guys! Thanks so
much for watching. A few weeks after the retreat and I can’t say
that my screen time went down all that much. So I want to know
how do you unplug? Let us know in the comments, and while
you’re at it subscribe to our channel. We’ll see you next time!


33 Responses

  1. North Indian

    May 16, 2019 12:15 am

    I tried and this really helped, I kept my phone down for 3 seconds before commenting this

  2. A Chain

    May 16, 2019 2:52 am

    Jajaja, my screen time, average 5 hours a day. I do not have a Facebook account, nor twitter. Most consumption are Tetris, Youtube, and WhatsApp for work purposes. I need a detox from it.

  3. Andrea Carriero

    May 16, 2019 5:19 am

    I quit facebook many years ago and recently instagram as well, just twitter survived for me so far. I use it as rss news.

  4. Salil Shah

    May 16, 2019 5:44 am

    Try to only charge your phone once every two days. You will automatically reduce your usage to conserve battery. Works great for me.

  5. Devansh Takkar

    May 16, 2019 12:30 pm

    You should have tried detox while living in city life. That way you can interact with the people and then conclude whether we can live like primate or not.
    You just normally get frustrated by taking a detox like that without talking, my mother did that and now she is determined to never to do such stupid thing again.

  6. Lucan Sanchez

    May 16, 2019 1:19 pm

    I seam like the habit is focusing on actual habits. you will always have a habit if you facus on habits. Habit is derogatory. Based on judgment. Science of literature.

  7. Dan

    May 16, 2019 1:54 pm

    For me try and make effort not to use technology while commuting other than music , when with friends and family call out people to put there phones in airplane mode to enjoy the time together sns be in the moment , inform whoever you want before that you will be off the grid for few hours .

  8. Venkatesh Subramanian

    May 17, 2019 2:08 am

    Living without technology for 3 days was completely fine. But what did stop you to have a shower? For all the 3 days you are in the same attire..!

    Something smelly.. 😂

  9. Ram Soriano

    May 17, 2019 6:53 am

    this is so weird showing how bad technology is, technology has been with human since the start of human evolution, U cannot even a house built by technology in the first place, u don't even be alive without technology, technology is not only about gadgets, cellphones, PC's, its all around us. the food we eat, the clothes wear, all was put together to be in a state where people can use.

  10. Allen Boyer

    May 17, 2019 4:20 pm

    A week in Canada last summer with notebooks to write in, a radio, a book and my kids. It is do-able.

  11. Stanley Chung

    June 2, 2019 3:28 pm

    I went to China for two weeks and decided not to buy a VPN like many people do to keep connected to things outside of the firewall. It was a struggle not being able to access and keep in touch with apps and websites that I'm used to frequenting on a daily basis, but during the trip I felt a certain sense of freedom because I didn't get the constant notifications I used to get ,and got to really enjoy what I saw around me and the people I was with without the pressure of having to post selfies. I felt a lot happier than having before when you would be subconsciously comparing yourself to other people's lives on social media. Since coming back to my country, I've stopped the habit of endless scrolling, and rarely feel the need to post updates on social media. Ive become a lot more productive and learned the importance of connecting in person or over a phone call


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