Digital detox aims to combat tech addiction

Technology addiction is a big problem, say some medical experts. But there’s growing interest in switching off with the rise of digital detox retreats. Katie Gregory reports.

The phrase ‘Digital Detox’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013… meaning the time a person refrains from using an electronic device.

But since then the time we spend on our smartphones and computers has only increased.

Texting and walking, streaming on lunch breaks – headphones attached on the commute to work. The extreme use of technology is certainly confronting.

After more than 20 years running a tech business – Tanya Goodin realised she was spending too much time staring at screens.

So she started her company ‘Time To Log off’ – which runs digital detox retreats three to four times a year.

The ‘disconnected’ escapes around the UK and Italy cost between 1000 US Dollars for a weekend and 1700 US dollars for a week.

Phones are switched off and removed and there are more traditional activities.


“I think it’s no accident that some of the really big hotel chains are now introducing digital detox environments and weeks, and even rooms, I am seeing a big growth actually in the travel industry. I think people want to pay for peace, and they want to pay for disconnection.”

But while some can cure their attachment to devices with a detox retreat or a seminar.. others are suffering from serious addiction.

Nightingale Hospital in London was one of the first in the UK to offer private technology addiction clinics.


“I think the most extreme cases are probably presenting to hospitals, certainly to pediatricians, a colleague recently was involved with a young man who they thought in his teenage years had had a stroke. When they got to the bottom of what had happened he’d been gaming and simply hadn’t drunk any water for days and was near comatose. So the level to which this can impact on your physical health is about as extreme as it can get.”

France is one country leading the way on digital health. The Government – introduced a right to disconnect law last year – basically banning after hours e-mails.

And after September students won’t be allowed to use mobile phones on school grounds.

And as people switch on to the need for a digital detox…. the business around it will only continue to boom.

Associated Links

  • Internet culture
  • Culture
  • Digital detox
  • Detoxification
  • Human behavior

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