Screenshot 2020-01-05 at 14.25.55

As the new year begins, the resolutions pile up: eat less, eat healthier, move more, complain less, be mindful. And the media ‘helps’ with their advice on how to transform resolution in actual change. A few years back, everybody was talking about cleansing, detoxing the body. And in 2020 we all should be in digital detox mode. Another nonsensical resolution.

Let’s begin with the term detox. One should cleanse their body and mind after the holiday feasts. As any half-serious dietician will explain, there’s no way to cleanse your body. Drink all the juices, water and supplements in the world, your body will not cleanse itself through these methods. You can take care of yourself by eating healthier, sleeping more, exercising, etc. It works but it is boring and not as cool and Instagram-worthy as a cleanse. The same is true for the digital space. Is each digital interaction poisoning your mind? If so, you have bigger problems.

Stopping a bad habit for a few weeks doesn’t change anything unless you stop it for good.

Plus, most of the digital detox advice is mundane: Smartphone out of the bedroom and dining table, take a break from the screens and look at nature, limit your notifications – do we need ‘experts’ for common sense?

Sure, we get how platforms and apps are trying to capture each moment of attention, how they try to overwhelm our brain chemistry with constant dopamine shots, how we have problems focusing because this blinky thing is always so close and so much easier than working or reading a book. Many people have problems sleeping, concentrating and being with others. It’s a real problem. But it’s nothing new. The Internet has been around for 30 years, smartphones for 12 and tablets for 10. We know about the traps and baits of Internet firms for years now, read about the inner workings of these attention-deficit creating companies. Ultimately, each user is responsible for their own behavior. Too many users act like people bitching about tobacco companies while lighting up a cigarette.

The term ‘Digital Detox’ is so fitting because it’s as useless as all the other cleanses and detoxes. Stopping a bad habit for a few weeks doesn’t change anything unless you stop it for good.

Ultimately, the power to change is in our hands. Literally. We can keep the phone in our pocket, leave it at home. Deactivate all notifications. Go back to real conversations and limit texts. We don’t need to detox. We just need to get our shit together.