So why haven’t we seen the push for a digital detox movement in Australia? Are we not addicted like our US counterparts? Do we not feel the need to socially disengage and take some deep breaths in solitude? Are we already mastering the ‘tap flow’ analogy that Dr Kristine Dery sees as the solution for managing work and personal time?
Essentially, the management of media usage levels goes beyond the discourse of ‘switching off’. In light of Dery’s interview, Australians need to start a conversation about a plausible alternative to shutting out the cyber world for a chance with sanity and serenity.
We’ve seen how difficult it has been for individuals like Kate Toon – promising herself “no technology for one week,” only to be disappointed that this goal was not achievable. Why? The realistic demands from the individual and professional world all hang upon the internet realm. It reaches out to us for constant feedback and affirmation, urges us to brand our social image, and is central to managing the complexity of our own daily routines, which for many, involves a full time job.
We’ve also looked at the possibility for literal escapism – the serene environment of Vipassana in Blackheath, demanding the lock out of digital demons to heal our tech ridden souls and reinvigorate our sense of self, and physical communications with others. But is this a viable option for individuals? After all, the current focus of such retreats tends to be spiritual, which isn’t of wide appeal in a largely secular society.
Despite the lack of focused ‘digital detox’ retreats in our current climate, there still appears to be significant interest for a National Day of Unplugging in Australia. Our survey found that 60.5% of individuals would take part in this annual event, even though 72% of individuals spend three to nine hours online each day.
Should these findings advocate a movement towards Australia’s first National Day of Unplugging? At the very least, should Australians make a conscious effort to take heed of Dery’s words: to acknowledge ‘digital liberation’ is the key idea for managing our professional and social worlds? Should we take advantage of the ‘digital toolbox’ which most of us possess?
Blackberry for work calls
MacBook for skype session with partner
iPad for incoming emails
It might seem overwhelming, but Australians are in demand, and in a big way. In the business world, we need to be available 24/7. Job competitiveness already relies upon access to online job seeker sites. We need to be a part of this online world to survive, to stay connected, to make a living. Even if we choose to ignore it, if only for a while, we will soon realise that we can’t stay away for too long…
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