How to take a family screen detox

Recently, one of our staff came back from a Meditation retreat where she had 2 days in beautiful regional area amongst the trees and nature. That two days topped her up so much – it was the difference between night and day!

I asked her what the best part was and she said something surprising but I am hearing more and more:

The best part was that the location had no wifi or phone reception. Being totally disconnected from the screen, emails, news messages and media. It was a total screen detox.


65% are on phones in bed

So many of us, including our kids, have such a close relationship with our phones that we even take them to the toilet with us! Every spare second we have is just mindlessly going to the screen. We watch, shop, read, scan and just dump hours into that space – and most admit we’re not doing anything all that important on there.


Recent research shows that 78% of us are on our phone’s in bed before we sleep and that 72% admit that the first thing they do in the morning is grab the phone before they are even out of bed. These habits are catching on to our teens as well, where a whopping 70% admit they are on social media or YouTube “many hours per day”.


Is this a problem?

Well it’s a problem for the real, physical relationships that are in our lives. We are less present and more distracted – to the point where we all saw in the media the Mum whose small child drowned right in front of her as she was buried in her phone.

Physically present, but a million miles away.


“I miss you dad” 

I was counselling a 15 year old boy who has a distant relationship with his dad. To my surprise, he told me his dad is often around, but always too busy to engage or do anything together. Even at the dinner table, dad is on his phone or computer. The young guy told me how the previous night, dad had got up from dinner, put some headphones on and was heading upstairs as he usually does. As Dad walked past, a lonely and struggling Ben said aloud, “I miss you dad. I need you.” But dad was somewhere else.


Our screens take us to another world.

They send messages that something else is more important.

They reduce real-person contact, and diminish the intimacy that we have with those around us.


The Challenge today is to take a Screen Detox.


And if it improves your relationships, then make it a habit.


3 things to try: 

Choose one hour per day when the phone is away.

Choose a day a week that is phone lite, when you only check it twice.

Find a regional area once a year where there is no reception or wifi and just breath.


By taking a screen detox together, you’re building healthy family relationships and showing what’s important to each other.


Dan Hardie

Dan Hardie

Dan is a counsellor and the founder of MyStrengths

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