we've done our research
Technology is designed to addict us. Smartphones are especially good at this as they’re small enough to carry with us everywhere.
Gone are the days when phones were used for phone calls and messages. We now use them for everything – our watch, camera, diary, calculator, alarm clock, music player, wallet/purse... the list is endless. These features are what make our devices so useful and can undeniably make daily life easier. The problem is now, we've become so used to having these tools accessible 24/7 it makes it that much harder to take some time away from the screen.
For most people, their phone is one of the last things they touch at night and one of the first things they touch in the morning. It then normally stays within reach for the rest of the day - when did you last leave your phone at home and why should you?
Addiction may sound extreme but there are of course different levels of addiction and it doesn’t need to mean that it’s completely destroying your life. Dopamine, also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone, is released in our brains during pleasurable situations. We get satisfaction from dopamine-triggering activities. We can then begin to crave these activities in order to get the ‘feel-good’ feeling again, and in extreme cases this can lead to addiction.
What’s this got to do with technology, you ask? Well, notifications have created an association between checking our phones and getting a reward so we continuously check our phones in anticipation of seeing an interesting message or a ‘like’ on social media.
Research in the UK has estimated that the average person checks their phone around 58 times a day - have you checked your stats? And, how many of those checks are necessary?
Phones, tablets and laptops were all created to aid communication and productivity but in reality they’re doing the opposite. From a mental health perspective, overuse of technology can contribute to feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression. This is without taking into account the impact on sleep (blue light impacts the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals to your body that it's time to sleep) which is not only crucial for the health of your immune system but directly influences your ability to deal with stress and store memories.
Multitasking has been uncovered as a myth but that doesn’t seem to stop us trying to juggle multiple tasks, notifications and messaging platforms. Checking your phone during another activity shifts your focus and it then takes an average of 23 minutes to completely refocus. It’s no wonder our attention spans are reported to be shorter than ever.
It’s not sounding great is it? You can see why we’re concerned. It’s hard to remember a life without smartphones but really they are still a relatively new phenomenon with the first iPhone revolutionising the market in 2007.
The long-term impact is still to be discovered but we truly believe it's something that needs to be talked about as it's only going to get worse. Recently, we've seen more mental health experts speaking out about the potential negative impact of technology and there’s been some really powerful campaigns too. But, is there the help you need to look up, log out and reinvent the way you rely on technology?
We know it’s not as simple as just stating you’re going to use your phone less. That’s why we’ve created our workshops, tools and resources to help individuals and businesses have a healthier relationship with tech.
what are people saying
We truly believe in the benefits of techtimeout, but don’t just take our word for it.
"The concept of being addicted to technology isn't something I'd particularly thought about previously. We all use tech in the office and we have innovated utilising technology across the business which has pushed us ahead of the curve for years. However techtimeout has given us a new appreciation of some of the negative impacts of technologies and how we can adapt our practices to be more mindful of these adverse effects."
Managing Director, National Hometyre Group
"The concept of techtimeout and the support around it has helped my team enjoy a healthier relationship with technology. In particular I’ve found our meetings are now more focused and more productive"
Managing Director, FBC Manby Bowdler
"We spend too much time living through technology rather than connecting in real life. It's lazy and it distracts you from fully experiencing what is happening in that moment. And none of that is good for our mental health."
Lead Clinical Psychologist