A digital detox podcast

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Presenter: So, we're back in the studio. Welcome back, everyone. My name's Rick Walker. From our laptops to our televisions, from the displays on our smartphones to those on our satnavs, we are in front of screens all the time. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to disconnect completely? To choose not to have access to the internet? If you have, you may be in need of a digital detox – a total switch-off from all things digital. The idea of people taking a digital detox is becoming more and more popular, especially amongst young people – and today we're joined by someone who's tried a number of digital detox activities and is here to give us some advice about it. Amanda Vince, welcome to the studio.

Amanda: Thank you very much.

Presenter: So, Amanda, you work for a fashion magazine in London, right? I guess your work means you need to be online a lot.

Amanda: Oh, yes. Apart from the hundreds of emails I get every day, I'm always browsing fashion websites, as well as online videos. I also need to be very active online, especially on Twitter and Instagram – sharing what we're doing in the magazine, interacting with designers, photographers, influencers … it never stops, literally. Then of course there's my friends and family to keep in touch with online too, and for me, my work grew out of my passion, so friends and work colleagues aren't two totally separate groups of people and it all gets a bit messy online sometimes. I think I'm online for at least 12 hours a day.

Presenter: So, how did you get the idea for a digital detox?

Amanda: I read a book about it, called Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. The author's name is Blake Snow. That book gave me some really good advice and made me think about trying to change some of my digital habits. I started with removing distraction.

Presenter: What do you mean by that?

Amanda: That means turning off alerts, buzzes, alarms or notifications of any kind. I had notifications set up for everything, and it meant I was always being forced to look at my phone. Removing all of them except for important contacts helped me focus immediately. The book also made a really good point, that we should ask ourselves 'Why?' every time we take out our phone. I realised that most of the times I looked at my phone were because I was trying to avoid or ignore something else happening right in front of me. It was an automatic habit.

Presenter: I have to confess, that happens to me too. But what else are you going to do when you're standing in line at the bank or waiting for your train?

Amanda: OK, yes, I'm the first to admit that it's great for helping time go by. But speaking personally, I found I wasn't just checking my phone to kill time when I was alone. I was also doing it with friends or family around.

Presenter: Hmmm … right. Well, so far, this doesn't sound too drastic. Turning off notifications and becoming aware of when we use our devices. That sounds easy.

Amanda: Yes, it's the first step. Once we begin to realise just how much of a grip our devices have on us, then we're ready to really take the next step. First, my partner and I did a weekend with absolutely no screens. She found it easier than I did. For me, it was a little bit scary at first but it turned out to be a pretty rewarding experience.

Presenter: A whole weekend, huh? I don't know if I could ...

Amanda: I think everyone has to do this at their own pace. If a weekend feels too much, maybe just try for an evening. Then work your way up to more. I guarantee, once you've tried it, you'll want to try it again. We're going to try for a whole week in the summer.

Presenter: OK, let's pause there then and see what our listeners have to say. You can call us here directly, or send us a message on any of our social media channels ... oops, should I be saying that? Anyway, more after the break. 

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Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)
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Submitted by El Cuy Mágico on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 00:23

Yes, I would love it as I have to confess sometimes I am in front of a screen just unconsciously then I realize I am loosing time. I think it could be healthy to be disconnected a couple hours per day cause I think cellphones have become part of our body, an extension like your hand. I think it’s becoming a serious problem because vulnerable people such as children, young people or even adults are losing control and they are more interested on virtual world than real world.

Submitted by kawa on Mon, 18/01/2021 - 20:19

personally, I always turn off my mobile data, whenever I have a job to be done. It is very annoying if you want to focus on your job and suddenly you get a call or notification that distracts you from your Study, job, or anything. Even if you let it so, you can't even stop thinking about what you have already got ( from whom you have got a message..etc.

Submitted by Layria on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 13:10

I´d love to do a digital detox after being connected eight hours a day because I work from home in remote. Once a month my family and I like going to the mountain to enjoy trekking. It´s important to me to breathe fresh air to clear my mind and not having distraction with the mobile, but it is really difficult if someone near you take out the mobile from the pocket when a buzzer sounds...I get very angry inmediately

Submitted by Diogo1606 on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 00:03

For sure I'd like to do a digital detox, because being connected all the time is really stressing sometimes. Actually, I gave the first step to it by deactivating notifications in my cellphone mainly because I'm about to do a national exam at the end of this month to enter the college, and I started receiving a lot of media related to it, what makes me feel anxious.

Submitted by mrhgo on Sun, 06/12/2020 - 12:12

Actually yes. Internet is such an amazing resource for everything but we don't usually make good use of it. In my case, I'm aware that I spend more time online than I should. I realize that I'm online for at least 8 hours daily. Once a week I switch off my mobile notifications but maybe that is not a real digital detox.

Submitted by Danatam on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 07:22

its bad if you are on your phone because your phone has a small screen and you can break your eyes its better if you go on a ipad or tv but be carful your eyes are fragile
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Submitted by DJ Singh on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 07:11

I'd love to do it again as I have already done it for 10 days. I lived 10 days in a spiritual place without any screen or digital device, not even anything to write. Just surrounded by nature. That was a beautiful experience, I felt connected with my inner self and with nature for the first time.

Submitted by Asni on Sat, 21/11/2020 - 22:56

Yes, I'd love to but I'm not sure if I could do that...I became addicted to screens, if it is not watching TV, then it is the laptop, tablet or phone. In the past, people used to listen to the radio, and by the term 'radio' I mean that very simple gadget with no screen, only buttons to play and pause, now it turns out that even for that we use some kind of digital devices. I ve already tried it for a short time, like an evening or even a whole day, but I can't disconnect for more than that because I live abroad far from my family, and we need to hear from each other regularly, a simple message like 'hello, everything is fine' is sometimes enough to avoid worry.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 12:18

I'd like to do a chocolate detox... ;)
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 12:16

I'd like to sweets detox... ;)

Submitted by Aqilah khurshed on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 04:59

Yes I would definitely want to.

Submitted by loveiseverything on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 08:56

My life is full of digital tox. I have to work in front of the computer from 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday, sometimes Monday to Saturday. And then, I play my smartphone after work until 00:00 everyday. On weekends, I play smartphone all the time even when I am eating until I go to sleep in 00:00. I will be dead if I don't do a digital detox. My life is too crazy...
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Submitted by javibuendi on Wed, 11/11/2020 - 10:00

Yes, I would definitely like. I spend about 7 hours per day in front of a screen. Some of them are mandatory due to they are study hours, but the other ones are expendable. I think I should change my habit because my eyes are getting tired more and more. I began by putting my phone in silent mode and I should continue by stopping using the phone from certain hours, such as 21 p.m. Cheers from Madrid.

Submitted by semoha on Sun, 08/11/2020 - 10:13

I don't have a mobile phone, just laptop

Submitted by Ventola on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 08:41

Actually I do it from time to time. Usually, I switch off the internet and stay accessible only for calls, which means who really need me they can call me.

Submitted by vsanchez75 on Mon, 26/10/2020 - 13:59

A personal goal is detox of social media, three months ago I disconected fo facebook by one month and I can say it was so relax, I could connected with another things and it helped me because i did many things wich I postponed, I will do it again

Submitted by Echo1 on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 07:54

Definitely. In my work as a teacher, we have completely transformed from the face-to-face interaction into an online platform, I find that I spend most of my day in front of the screen to prepare for my lecture, to deliver them, attend meetings and accomplish other tasks, which take up to 10 hours of my day. After that, in the evening, I feel the need to catch up with my social media updates, communicate with my friends and watch movies or series before I sleep. So in totality, I am in front of my screen the entire time I am awake. This is something I really want to change from my daily activities. I want to take a break from my screens because I really think that this will have a negative impact on my health sooner or later.

Submitted by booknerd on Thu, 22/10/2020 - 15:56

Yes. I have tried digital detox alot of times and it's been a wonderful experience.

Submitted by Ugulhan on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 16:08

I have read the text, and honestly, I haven't understood what can be a digital detox. I looked at other comments then I have gradually caught the meaning of the context. I would like to say the internet is being a part of our life, but I feel also that it is not good 24 hours to be on the internet seeing as the physical movement of people would be shrunk. Even, our mobile phones are connected to the internet and every one of us is dedicated our time to them. We have been killing our time with it. It seems to be involving unnecessary things. I would also turn off my notifications on my mobile phone. However, it would be automatic appearing some alerts such as buzz, throughout it will be news. As a digital detox, can we add also what's up the apple program of our mobile phone? I am saying because of turning off it.

Submitted by habibao.medo on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 12:19

i don't think i am ready to do digital detox now but maybe in the future who knows
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Submitted by danisep on Sat, 17/10/2020 - 00:03

I wouldn't like to do a digital detox because when I turn off my phone notifications, I really forget my phone, sometimes when work turns too bored I take it to watch my instagram and stuffs, but I think I can keep under control by other hand I always using my computer to study or work so I need it, maybe leave all those screens behind and take some vacations, use just and old phone just to receive calls and forget all technology for a while.
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Submitted by Elena Ivgha on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 10:10

I would like to do a digital detox, but I realised that I was definitely addicted to social networks. I checked Instagram million times per day and it really never ended. The only thing I did, I switched off all notifications and buzzes on my device. It really helped me to keep my mind on my work.

Submitted by Estenglish on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 20:37

My girlfriend is always saying me I have a problem with Twitter and, despite I never admit her, I think she is rigth and I have tried to disconnect sometimes. My best score is 2 days without this app on my phone. I always think I just like and enjoy that.

Submitted by Cami on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 10:20

I’d like to do it, even if I think that I’m not too affected by digital things. I study quite all day in front of books and I try not to be too more distracted from my phone.

Submitted by Chiara99 on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:06

Yes, I would like to do a digital detox, but i think it'll would be very difficult at the beginning. I usually use my phone from the morning until the evening to hear my friends and I'm used to watching tv series on computer. It sound terrible stay even just a day without connections. Maybe (one day) I will try.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Mon, 28/09/2020 - 23:54

Yes, I’d like to do a digital detox because nowadays people have turned in technology-aholic, and sometimes it’s could be a tricky situation that can affect your personal life, hence it will be interesting come back for a short period of time to the past and living as whether wouldn’t have had technology or some digital change. Technology represented important changes in our lives but also it is important keeping yourself in control.

Submitted by marciacriollo on Wed, 09/09/2020 - 12:51

The audio in the podcast is not working, Does anybody know why?

Hi marciacriollo,

Sorry to hear that the audio is not working :(

I've just tested it on my computer, and it's working for me. It may have been a temporary problem.

Is the audio still not working for you? If it's not working, is it only this audio, or are other audios in the Listening section also not working?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Hennadii on Mon, 31/08/2020 - 16:19

Definitely. The digital detox is what I need sometimes. I have to admit I spend a lot of time in front of screens of my laptop, desktop, and smartphone. Ok, I need my computer to learn English, Polish, and programming at home. You can't learn anything without the internet nowadays. I spent several hours every day studying. But, I also look at my screen (mostly smartphone) without any reason. I don't know why. It's a kind of a bad habit now, you always feel you need to check something on your phone: some new notifications or a newsfeed on Facebook or Tweeter or other social networks. And it's not something you can't live without just another bad habit like smoking or swearing. Sometimes I tell myself to reduce my online time but with the mixed result so far, if the truth to be told ;) Maybe I need to read a good motivating book or find a new passion to take up my time to avoid gadgets. I don't know what else to say about that ... maybe I should check my Facebook to fill this awkward pause ))

Submitted by Tania Jrz A on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 03:59

I would definitely love it, I have done it before, sometimes it's difficult but you realize there are so many better and real reasons to put attention to your world that you find it easier, it's like if you lived more :D

Submitted by Nubis on Sun, 19/07/2020 - 03:20

Unfortunately, all our generations is contaminated of this.where will we go?
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Submitted by Simonida Vukobrat on Thu, 09/07/2020 - 00:57

Of course I would! I am already doing that every summer - reading books and swimming instead of surfing on the net!

Submitted by Marci_95 on Mon, 22/06/2020 - 16:24

I think that it's really important to take a break from our devices. During this lockdown, we have spent a lot of time in front of all screens, it was a good opportunity to stay in touch with far friends or family, but I used this time to switch off my phone, tv and social in order to get more spare time for my passions. And it was incredible because I felt that I was in the right way. I had time for myself. Of course, we were closed at home, but the hours flew away. I missed that. Right now, I come back to normal life, but I turn off all notifications from my phone and I tried to use social less to keep on my personal projects.

Submitted by Mennatallah on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 09:19

Yes, I do. it's a great idea too me, i set long time on the screens.

Submitted by nona nasr on Wed, 10/06/2020 - 20:47

For me ,actually i don’t need to do digital detox because I can control myself and realize how much time I spend using my phone, I connect to social media only when I have free time otherwise I have to do many other useful things such learning English , reading books and doing exercises

Submitted by Adri on Tue, 09/06/2020 - 14:10

Honestly, after the COVID-19 situation, right now I think that everybody need the internet for work and study, follow an online class of University or school and also for we are conecting and speak with our family. Although, is true that we need a little time for ourselves and disconecting telephone or laptop or television.

Submitted by pmnobre on Mon, 08/06/2020 - 22:33

I think that the most important is to have a balance between digital and the off-screen life. I don't believe that access to anything is good and that accessing too much is good either. Balance is the order in this subject.

Submitted by Janey on Sat, 06/06/2020 - 13:44

Honestly, the digital device is one of the most important elements to support my life. After working hard, I like searching for websites to watch funny videos and using social media to relax. I always set an exact time alert on using social media. It helps me not spend too much time relaxing and can return my work easily. Moreover, I can live without using kinds of social media the whole day or the whole week, because I can read books or do other works instead of using social media. Therefore, I recognized that I'm not a person addicted to social media.

Submitted by juju19 on Fri, 05/06/2020 - 21:23

I think digital detox is very good for a lot of people. I try to practice this, because I think it's better to focus on important things, because I don't spend a lot of time using social medias. Now, with coronavirus we use the internet all the time, to watch classes, study, talk to our friends and family, but I turned off my notifications, and I'm trying to use the internet just for this things, and not losing time seeing social medias. I used to be a little addicted in social medias and it was't good for me, because it was difficult to stop and do my schedules. But I believe that each person should decide what is better, because a lot of people don't feel that social media is bad for concentration.

Submitted by Jadyr on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 18:12

I love being conneted in social networks, however when I am with my relatives barely I use my phone, but I have to admit that a weekend without devices, including laptop and Tv, it sounds interesting and I will try the next one

Submitted by Wen_Koala on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 23:46

As Amanda said I need to be very active online because of my work office, but I've tried to do so just in the working hours. Every day I start my work checking emails and projects al 8.30 am and finish at 6.30 pm. After that time, I don't connect on social media apps because I don't think it is a priority for my lifestyle. I prefer doing some exercise or listen to some music. Just in case, I'm bored waiting for the bus or stuck in the traffic jam, I check my social media.

Submitted by cadu on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 01:40

Hi, I think that try digital detox could be a good practice for all the people. We spend a lot of time in front the screens and is necessary stay focus for develop many activities. If the people is always connected, Get rest and sleep well could be a trouble. Is important give stepa by step and find a good scenario for each one.

Submitted by begumoz on Mon, 18/05/2020 - 00:23

I recognized to have an addicted using social media after listening the topic. I have decided change my habbit. Turning notfications off is a good advice. I will try first.

Submitted by grumpymelanja on Fri, 15/05/2020 - 17:16

I would, that would be a great experiment. Obviously- as a teenager I use my phone a lot. now because of coronavirus outbreak my whole school life happens online. after e-lessons i need to do my homework- also on my phone. it takes A LOT of time to actually be on the ball. I spend more time online than I used to before the pandemic. Now I go to city occasionally without my phone. And to be honest I surprised myslef when I realized that I forgot I dont have it! totally forgot about my phone lol. I guess when it became my duty i just got bored and tired of it haha and i won't deny- i do use my phone a lot also for fun. I watch videos, I look for inspirations, chat with people, or just surf the internet. Even more when I have to stay at home. it's not like i spend 247 on digital devices, but it is a part of I think everybody's life nowadays.

Submitted by Wura on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 20:00

I would definitely like a digital detox. I think I need it sometimes.

Submitted by Ahmadbassam on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 18:07

Yes, i would like to do a digital detox at least for one day evrey week. I think it is good to leave the devices for short time evrey week.