While I did some investigations for my Digital Detox presentation at the wellness@work conference in Sydney in April this year, I came across an article in the magazine NewPhilosopher (issue #11) that informed about an experiment that – so I believe – needs to be shared with others as much as possible.

What The Data Says

I had already collected enough data to confirm what I expected:

Today’s electronic devices and the use of social media have a huge impact on our lives. More than we probably are really aware of.  Books about digital burnout are written and terms such as “digital junky” are created. We meanwhile develop pavlovian responses and immediately reply when the electronic master device calls.

The Experiment

Based on two sources, the Paw Research Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation in the US, the NewPhilosopher reports about an experiment in which almost 1,000 students from ten different countries participated.

The students agreed to abstain from using all kinds of electronic devices. They banned themselves from TV’s, game consoles, Ipads, smart phones, social media etc. for 24 hours and then reported their experiences.

The Results

Students from China (incl. Hong Kong) reported “I felt so lonely” and “I was anxious, irritable and felt insecure”. A Lebanese student mentioned an uneasy feeling and said “I felt as though I was lost in a void.”

A British participant felt “being tortured” while in the US people felt “like a drug addict” and went into “panic mode”. Students in Mexico reported feelings of despair and distress while Chileans felt overwhelmed or anguish.

Students in Argentina wrote “I felt dead” and “I felt helpless of not communicating”. Participants in Slovakia also had feelings of panic and desperation.

What This Means

For many it seems, using communication through e-devices is as lifesaving as breathing is. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation today’s youth create more than 10 hours of media content every day, often engaging in two, three or more media at the same time.

Finally, the same source reports what has been found by a German study as well: People now spent more time with media than with any other activities, including sleep.

This convinced me that the timing for my workshop at the wellness@work conference is perfect. People need to gain awareness of this growing behaviour and learn about the consequences.

We need to disconnect to reconnect.

If you want to hear more about this topic and you are in Sydney 1.-3.April 2016 come and chat with us at the wellness@work conference & FREE expo & Seminars – looking forward to seeing you there!