published 1970-01-01 00:00

updated 1970-01-01 00:00

+++ draft = true date = 2018-10-03T12:13:03+10:00 title = "Failed Detox" slug = "" tags = ["tech"] categories = [] +++

At this point doing digital detoxes has become something of a trope. It's no secret that the majority of smart phone users are addicted to their magic glowing rocks. I too am not exempt from the depths of digital dependance. And so I tried to do something about it.

From the 23rd of September to the 2nd of October I had disconnected my home internet connection in an attempt to digital detox. I'm a firm believer in the mindful use of technology and I thought I could foster good habits with regards to the internet through disconnecting from it entirely. But I failed. I'm not ashamed to admit that I failed miserably. In fact, I failed so badly that I probably spent more time staring at screens that week, and what's even worse is I spent nearly all that time intensively unproductively. It turns out that addiction is actually very difficult to beat, even when the products I use aren't intentionally designed to waste all my time. Turns out even when I turn off notifications about likes and retoots, I still crave an endless torrent of information.

My fatal mistake was not disconnecting my mobile internet connection as well. I generally use a firewall on my phone to stop pesky spyware that I am unable to find sufficient replacement for, and I tried to use this as a replacement for total internet blackout -- afterall I still needed an internet connection to both get and submit my homework, check emails, and communicate with people I love. I want to be mindful, not a luddite. My rationale was that I could use the internet in places that weren't home. I'd get out of the house more, use the time away from the internet interestingly and reflectively, and generally have the best of both worlds, but boy was I wrong. I don't remember exactly why I turned off the firewall on my phone, but at some point I did and the reflexes kicked in. Endless refreshes on Mastodon was my poison of choice, though I took occasional trips down to Hacker News and Wikipedia. I caught myself a multitude of times and tried to stop myself, but I didn't have the willpower. As is the case with physical addictions, replacement not abstinince tends to work best for most people.

And so I hope to learn from my mistakes. I shall try again, but next time I will try to replace the internet with something else instead of just hoping for the best. Maybe I'll also record some data about my usage before/after (though this will be somewhat difficult to measure) to take away more from the experience. In the mean time I'm using an app to help me stop when I really need to.