We live in a world that is filled with a lot of noise. We are more globally connected than ever before in life, yet it seems we have more communication issues than ever. The average person in America today spends more than fifty percent of their waking life in front of some type of screen or listening to some type of media. This is proving to have a negative psychological, spiritual and social impact on our culture. We need to make some radical changes to turn the tables on the digital age and set the stage for future generations to be able to celebrate humanity in its simplest, basic way.
Here are some of the numbers of the digital addiction we are seeing.
• 61% of Americans admit to being addicted to the internet and the devices used to access it.
• 30% of the leisure time is spent on the web
• 67% of cell phones users find themselves checking the phone even when it is not ringing or notifying them
• Heavy internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed than those who moderately use the internet
•The average employee spends two hours a day recovering from digital distractions and visit an average of forty websites a day switching activities more than thirty-seven times in an hour, changing task every two minutes. This is a huge problem since only two percent of people can effectively multi-task.
• High use of social media triggers emotional feelings of loneliness, jealousy and fear.
• Ninety-five percent of people use some type of electronics in the hour leading up to going to bed. The artificial light from the screens increase alertness and suppress the melatonin by as much as twenty-two percent affecting sleep, mood and performance.
How do we turn the corner and start to make a difference in our lives and the future generations? We have to start with a digital detox. Reach back to a time where we spent time with people face to face instead of face-time. Get to know your family without the distraction of a TV blaring in the background. A life of freedom comes from a balance and understanding that you can control the digital communication, not it controlling you. Learn to live a life with the resources that are all around us to help us feel alive. Get out and experience the power of play, mindfulness, spontaneity, integrity, authenticity, creativity and vulnerability.
Make electronics work for you as a tool to help us better connect with the life we want to celebrate, improving our unique existence, instead of being a distraction from what God created us to be. Learn to value smiles, nature, laughter, tears and community in real life. Share your life with the people you are surrounded by every day on your commute, at the dinner table, neighbors, clubs and churches.
If you need a place to learn and start your new adventure, we will be hosting Unplugged Retreats at our Timothy Hill Retreat Centers. Our beautiful Retreat Centers offer the perfect setting to get in touch with what God created you to be, without the noise that bombards us as we make our way through the daily routine. Learn how to live life to the fullest. We believe it is time to take a big breath and ask yourself some big questions about the things we take for granted. We have to intentionally remind ourselves of the things we have forgotten and remember we are all in this life together. We need to be connected, but it does not have to involve a device.
Keep an eye out for more information on one of these Unplugged Retreats in the near future. We hope you will join us!