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Digital Detox or Disconnecting to Reconnect?

Father and daughter pose with a creation they made

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Would you try a digital detox? #HolidayMode #VacationMode

Unless you are retreating to one location… like a cabin or spa, I think it’s difficult to put your phone down on holiday. How do you find your way around without Google Maps or take pictures? What about checking in for your flight or researching for accessibility/food allergies? Our phones have become helpful translation and transaction tools.

Why not, instead, of a digital detox, focus on disconnecting from the phone as work and entertainment and focus on reconnecting with the people around you?

How can you do this?
1. Make it clear with others what you plan to do.
There’s a lot of anxiety about the speed of getting back to someone. I think it’s something we need to address in our relationships in general, but vacations are a great opportunity to test the waters. We already set up out-of-offices, but do we do this in our personal lives?

2. Leave your work phone at home.
I have a personal phone which isn’t connected to any of my work apps or any of the socials I use for work. It’s not swish, but it has a camera and search capabilities, and if I’m trying to contact where I’m staying, or figure out an attraction’s opening time it will work!

3. Say ‘no’ to surfing.
Make a decision- you and whomever you holiday with (this is so important)- to use your phone as a tool, and not entertainment. Don’t have it out in the sun lounger, on the train, or at the table when you’re eating. Put it away out of sight, or turn it off to save the battery/ your data when you sit down. So often we address ‘phubbing’ (ignoring someone while focused on your phone) as a teen to adult or adult to adult problem, but actually it’s a parent-child problem too. 7 in 10 parents admit to being distracted by their phone during ‘quality time’ with their child (PEW). This is staggering when you take into account children identify their relationship with parent/carer key to their life satisfaction (ONS).

Remember: Screen-free time isn’t a LACK: it’s an opportunity
Wirral Unplugged helps families balance their screen time through screenfree events & kits that help them explore, learn and create together, developing skills and relationships that will support their future and their mental health. We do this through crafting, games, physical activities and cooking. So many parents have told us they talk more to their child when doing a craft or cooking together than any other time. All of our boxes are available on our site and, being screenfree, they travel well!

We’re all navigating relatively uncharted waters with phones, but I think everyone can agree they’re here to stay.

I’m not against a detox, I just think, why not, instead of feast and famine, put boundaries in place so that it is a tool and not a distraction?

Modelling it for your kids and involving them with it will build skills that will help them balance their own screentime in the future.

We make it as easy for families to unplug as it is to pick up their devices.

UK Unplugged began in 2019 as a local community group dedicated to helping local parents and carers balance their family’s time on and off screens.

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