It’s a 21st-century experience that most of us can relate to: getting stuck in a social media spiral that sucks us in at any given opportunity. But is there a dark side to our technology habit, which could be impacting our mental health?
The unsurprising answer is, yes, there is. A study by the Royal Society of Public Health found that social media is more addictive than smoking and alcohol, and that using it for more than two hours a day is associated with poor mental health – something that is particularly prevalent in young people as four in five report that the platforms increase anxiety.
Worrying, isn’t it? Well now’s the time to do something about it.
Digital Detox Day is a new campaign in collaboration with LUSH, Zoë Sugg, and mental health organisation #IAMWHOLE – founded by Jordan Stephens. Around the world, on 5 September, Digital Detox Day is prompting people to step back from their phones for an entire day.
If the thought of going without your phone for a whole day fills you with feelings of dread and anxiety, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s exactly this response that the campaigners behind Digital Detox Day want to tune-in to and cut out.
In a series of panel discussions shared on Zoë’s Instagram, she’s joined by some big names to discuss cyberbullying, anxiety, human connection, body image, and digital boundaries – all in preparation for helping you take that vital break.
So how can you get involved? On 4 September, the Digital Detox Day team are asking you to share a post on your social media using their campaign symbol, tagging it with #DigitalDetoxDay and @IAMWHOLEUK. The idea being that this will act as an ‘out of office’ so that you can let those who follow you know that you won’t be online – something that may help soothe worries around FOMO or being uncontactable.
From there, how you spend the day is up to you. In collaboration with LUSH, Zoë has created a bath bomb to help you tap into some self-care – with proceeds from the sales being donated to grassroots mental health charities. Beyond that, you may choose to use the day to connect with friends and family, explore your local area, spend time working on a hobby, or trying something completely new.
“I want to be clear about something,” says Jordan Stephens in the Digital Detox Day campaign video. “This campaign isn’t about dissing our phones, or saying technology is evil. More and more studies have shown that if we don’t set boundaries, it can take over our lives and have a negative impact on our mental health.”
There’s no point in pretending that giving up our social media habit is as easy as putting down our phones for a day, and if this makes you feel particularly anxious, take time to acknowledge those feelings, and explore their root cause. But with the right preparation and communication, you may be surprised by the things that you discover when you take a step back.
Find out more about Digital Detox day by visiting digitaldetoxday.org