Research shows that a person, on average, spends ten hours a day on the internet and sleeps fewer than seven hours a night. Around the world, more than two billion people have a smartphone and more than one third of families are subscribed to a video-streaming service like Netflix.

In this modern era, we no longer wait for the answers we need with anticipation or wait for the social connections we want. We no longer go to the library to borrow books or look for information in the encyclopaedia. We no longer have to wait days, weeks or months for our favourite programmes or films to be aired on television. We can now have all this without leaving our home. Our technological equipment lets us explore at will and at our own convenience.

However, spending more than 70 hours on the internet a week means that we do not have time to do other things. Too much time surfing the internet does not leave us time to develop hobbies, spend time with our loved ones, travel or do what needs doing at home. More time on the internet does not leave us enough time to learn, create and live our lives. Those who get lost in the digital world of the internet end up neglecting personal relationships, work and even their own security.

There is also the ever growing risk of disease and obesity associated with the sedentary lifestyle linked to the use of technology. When we spend time online, whether we are using the internet, sending emails, using other social media platforms or sending messages, we may be depriving ourselves of sleep and disconnecting ourselves from reality. This can lead to a variety of psychological consequences. To make things worse, if the wifi connection were to fall suddenly, we will feel anxious, lost, without energy and alone.

To fight our ever increasing dependence on technology, more and more people are turning to what is being called a ‘digital detox’. This is a period of time during which those who usually use technology abstain from using their smartphones, computers or tablets, so that they can reconnect with real life.

Digital detoxification aims to break down technology habits and reconnect with real life. This can only happen when we disconnect from the virtual world, as studies show that when we abstain from using gadgets, our levels of stress decrease and we become more productive. As soon as we are disconnected we can start to enjoy a stronger relationship with our own selves and others. Digital detoxification practices are aimed to increase our empathy for others and bring more balance into our lives.

Schools and education institutions should participate in this concept. The idea of digital detoxifications should be included in the curriculum. The aim of introducing this concept in secondary, post-secondary and tertiary schools is to help students use technology more responsibly as it is an inevitable part of their lives in the future. And children and youths are the future!

Have you ever stopped to think what a week without technology can do to youths? What would happen if we were to force young people to not touch technology for a week? Would their technology habits change once they are out of ‘detox’?