A digital detox podcast

Listen to the podcast about doing a digital detox to practise and improve your listening skills.

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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)

Submitted by NurD on Sun, 18/09/2022 - 20:54


Yes, I would like to do a digital detox. However, I really use social media a lot to keep in touch with my family and friends. Still, I want to try it for a few hours, at least.

Submitted by ZackTheBilingual on Tue, 06/09/2022 - 17:50


To do a digital detox once in a while is a good thing, both for your mental and physical health. Spending time with family and friends should be the priority. Personally, I don't spend too much time on social media but I feel more alive when I am amongst other people rather than scrolling through my feed.

Submitted by mamalirezaenglish on Tue, 16/08/2022 - 13:34


I'm a digital marketer and unfortunately I cannot do digital detox too much. beside of that I work remotely, so I have to be online all the time to check the tasks with my teammates.

I usually try to not look at screen for 25 minutes after 2 hours of work, so that give a rest to my eyes and mind.

Submitted by Heba Elgharbawy on Thu, 28/07/2022 - 20:36


Actually, yes, it is amazing to disconnect with all social media apps , we are in a huge revolution of modern technology, and off course, it facilitate our missions but on the contrary, we need to move forward the peace of mind and creativity, which in fact all these apps through social media, in real , it is considered as a social isolation as every one is in front of his /her screen , and family and friends relation are not as the same before, it is not a real world , it just a mean . so it should be as a slogan to return back to our nature which is full of warms and feelings , fulfillment, in fact we have lost the taste of the old things, we have used to.

Submitted by shaymaaatef on Fri, 15/07/2022 - 01:01


Absolutely yes , I reckon that social media apps do occupy a significant part of our time , and nothing remain after surfing them . It's like a digital habit . We need to learn how to manage our time.

Submitted by Ehsan on Wed, 13/07/2022 - 05:49


I do that differently. I check WhatsApp and Instagram three time in a day. each time it takes a few minutes. I try to spend my free times with usefully thing such as studying a book or a article.

Submitted by alexiamontes2004 on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 01:50


Would you like to do a digital detox?

The truth is that I would really like it, I think it would allow me to help my physical and mental health, since I use my technological devices too much, such as my telephone and computer, and this would help me a lot to get rid of technology.

Submitted by Jeedapa on Tue, 21/06/2022 - 13:40


Of course, I am addicted to social media, and this isn't good at all. I've noticed that I spend most of my time on social media. I don't have that much interaction with people in real life. And it also impacts my mental and physical health.

Submitted by vaavilag on Wed, 18/05/2022 - 17:33


I really think everyone needs to do a digital detox. I see all the people staring at their phones even when they are surrounden by friends or family.

Submitted by Anna 229 on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 16:30


Honestly, I do like to do it. But I don't think it comes to me easily. I have to learn via digital devices all the time.However I decide I will try it at least once.

Submitted by jmajo on Fri, 25/03/2022 - 15:14


Yes I would, but I have to admit it's a bit difficult nowadays because most of the work I do, It's needed to be done interacting with screens, so I think it could be a good idea to try it at the evening when I'm not working, switching the smartphone for a book before I go to sleep. I think it would be impossible to completely disconnect from screens due to the tasks we do day by day, maybe in the countryside that could be a bit more viable than living in a city, but farmers are using more and more technology to help them get their job done though. When I'm at home I try not to use my phone most of the time, I try to spend time growing vegetables to avoid screens.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site.

Submitted by ninaals on Sat, 19/02/2022 - 02:04


I actually don´t find it hard to stay away from my phone, however there are some moments when I am physically tired to the point that I have no energy to get out of bed and be productive , in those kind of moments I give in and start scrolling through tiktok,always trying not to compare myself. Nevertheless after some time of doing this, I´ve come to he conclusion that it´s way better to read a book. at least to rest my eyes.

Submitted by LyubovK on Mon, 07/02/2022 - 09:07


I would like to do a digital detox because I believe it will improve my emotional state, for instance, I will feel less depressed, happier. And browsing websites, distracting to videos when I feel tired or emotionally exhausted are my problem. I struggle to decline the time I waste on the Internet, any social media.

Submitted by misty on Mon, 10/01/2022 - 00:27


It is quite hard for me to do a digital detox because technologies help me to ease my anxiety and reduces my stress level especially at work. So, listening to a music or watching some funny shows detoxifies my inner self.

Submitted by Windy on Tue, 21/12/2021 - 12:32


I think I can’t do complete digital detox because I’m studying from websites like yours most of the time and attending online class from zoom. But I tried to cut off my social media like Facebook, instagram and twitter. I think that’s all I can do.

Submitted by vuhoap on Tue, 14/12/2021 - 00:24


Speaking personally, I like to do a digital detox. It helps me to kill time when I was alone or was trying to avoid or ignore something else happening right in front of me. I always access the internet, browse websites, interact on the social media for at least 8 hours a day of week.

Submitted by ceehinh on Sun, 28/11/2021 - 11:47


yes, It's gratifying when I have done digital detox for 4 5 months. as you know, in recent months, we have had to stay at home because of lockdown by COVID 19. in the time, I find myself spending too much time surfing the internet, Facebook, Instagram,... it that things that make me distract and not to finish to-do list that I plan. I think I spend a lot of time just lying on bed and browsing social media frequently. I was shocked when I look back on the time screen on my phone, it was almost from 6 to 7 hours a day. It was useless so I decided to change the bad habit. So, what I did do? um it's always quite difficult at the beginning when you try something new, digital detox is no exception. I have cut down the amount of online social media time gradually. besides, I switch off all notifications relate to entertainment, just keep some app that is about a study to remind me if it was necessary. and I also make a check message habit on time in the day. that is what I do to change and detox social media.

Submitted by danielbacelar on Sun, 24/10/2021 - 20:33


In my last vacation, I stayed for one week a far beach without electricity.
My phone remained turned off all the time.
It was great!

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 18:21


No, I would not like digital detox.
I'm not using any social media app. I'm completely rid of this.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Tue, 24/08/2021 - 22:35

I think I must to do digital detox, I waste too much time in facebook, I`m so happy because I don`t have instagram :D Really, I want to stop but I fell like obsessed from that :/ :( in that time which I spend there, I can improve my skills in many other things.
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Submitted by FrancktheDodger on Mon, 23/08/2021 - 18:43

I find that dependency from any kind of addiction is a restriction of our ability to live and think freely. Since I believe that freedom is often used in distorted ways, as synonym of transgression or nihilism, only by realizing in the end that we are dependent from an obsessive use of something such as devices and games and social media, digital detox is the first step to actually understand how much our horizons are going to be restricted without even being aware of that. So, a digital detox is a good method to comprehend our real situation and, on a regular base, I try to practice it.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Wed, 18/08/2021 - 23:52

Yes I would like to do a digital detox.

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 11/07/2021 - 02:38

Hello, thank you for the lesson. However, I have a question. Here you go: Is it possible to say: "Anyways, more after the break" instead of "Anyway, more after the break"? Is anyways more used in American English?

Hello GiulianaAndy,

The most common form by far is 'anyway'.

'Anyways' is an informal version which is used in some dialects, particularly in the US, but which is considered non-standard by some people. I would avoid it in all but the most informal writing.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 11/07/2021 - 02:36

No, I wouldn't. I have to be in front of my device's screens every moment. In the morning I have my university classes, then in the afternoon I have to study English on my own, and finally before going to sleep I talk to a friend on messenger (she's helping me with my English speaking and I help her with her Spanish speaking) I aware I definitely need a digital detox. However, it is impossible for me to do that nowadays.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Mon, 10/05/2021 - 13:35

I think I have some digital detoxicating enzyme... ;)

Submitted by In on Mon, 10/05/2021 - 10:41

Yes, I would love to do an intense detox. But is not always possible because of work. I try to be disconnected any time that I can.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Tue, 20/04/2021 - 12:02

Yes, I like to do digital detox. Everyone should try to this and should spend time with family and myself. If you spend a lot of time on screen you ignore this beautiful world. Use degital detox and enjoying it. Some people thinks that spend time on screen is for entertainment and avoid tension. But this is not true. Spend time on screen is not for entertainment and avoid tension. I suggest that everyone should adopt digital detox and do other activities such as Play football, cricket etc.and doing drawing.

Submitted by Islandy on Sat, 27/03/2021 - 15:38

Before, I was not spending so much time on my phone, but I went to live in another city for my studies, and to keep in touch with my friends and my family, I spent more and more time on my phone. And now, the algorithm of applications like Instagram or Tik Tok are designed to push users to spend more and more time on the application. Sometimes, I lose myself on YouTube, I lose my time instead of reading a book or drawing. However, I think it is difficult to fix it: because of the pandemic, we must stay digitally connected, for our studies and to keep in contact with our friends and our family. I would like to do a digital detox camp. A group of people goes to a forest, without phone, to do different activities such as meditation. It can be a good idea to return to the essential, with nature all around.

Submitted by Manon NICOLAS on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 13:18

I agree with what Amanda's opinion. I also think digital detox is a way of decompression, and allows us to get back to essential things We will surely all need it at the end of the pandemic, because staying work at home, on our computers so we spend our entire days behind our screens, and that we can forget what is really important (family, friends, read a good book…). I think it's kind of a way to be “reset” in terms of digital pressure, so obviously it can only be positive. Personally I know that I’m too much in front of my phone, but I don't give myself time to pause everything, I think I want to do a digital detox, I will try this.

Submitted by Alyssa on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 08:48

In my opinion, a digital detox is a good idea for a few hours or days during the weekend, for instance. I am aware that the screens are very time-consuming. A digital detox could allow to rest and have some distance from social media for example. I can keep scrolling for a long time on social media like Instagram. I also often check my notifications, emails, messages. So, in the end, I didn't do anything else. To remedy this, I have even installed an application timer for some apps, which allows me to lock them for a time I set. But it's not enough yet and I still spend a lot of time on my phone. A digital detox could allow me to do other things such as cooking or reading a book for instance.

Submitted by Maria_143 on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 08:10

In my opinion, I think that it's a great idea and this experience would be very helpful for me. Because I spend so much time looking at screens especially during this pandemic where people mostly use their phones to communicate and to keep in touch with their family and friends so we're becoming completely dependent on our devices and we're wasting a lot of time checking on our social media. And this can be stressful and harmful to our health because this can lead to headaches or red or watery eyes or discomfort.

Submitted by Axelle on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 08:03

I should try this method too! Being a student, I pass all my days on screens especially since the university closed and I have distance-learning courses. Concerning my computer, lessons are on Teams or Zoom, so I have no other choice. As for my phone, I know exactly why I spend so much time on it: to talk to my friends and family of course, but also to think about something else other than courses. I have to admit that I surf a lot on social media.... The problem is that now, at night I have a headache and neckache by dint incline of my head forward. Furthermore, during some times, after some months working alone in my bedroom, I had some difficulties to focus. To solve it, I force myself to don’t look at my phone; when it’s possible, I print lessons to work on paper and I start meditation to increase concentration. Finally, I accept now to sometimes have a break to decompress with my family without any screens.

Submitted by EmmaH on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 08:00

I share Amanda’s opinion, namely, to do several times a digital detox. Indeed, we are constantly on our screens, both professionally and personally This is especially right since the global pandemic, where teleworking is boosted and students have to take their courses online. But to me, there is a paradox. Indeed, we are concerned about the health risks of being increasingly on our screens, but today, digital is a major asset for companies and as a student I really need them to work, to do my research or to keep in touch with my friends for instance. However, a few months ago I found out how many hours I spend on my phone every day. Although I don't spend 12 hours a day on my phone like Amanda or my classmates, I must admit that I am completely dependent to screens, both my cell phone and my laptop. Indeed, I am on it to work but also when I don't have any specific research to do. This is the issue. At this time, I decided to do a mini digital detox by turning off notifications and by setting a time limit per day for some applications such as Instagram or Snapchat. Indeed, even if phones or other devices make my life easier, they also make it easier to waste time, to be less productive and sometimes to have headaches. In my opinion, screens should remain tools to accomplish tasks, not tools that prevent us from doing them. However, I must admit that it's pretty hard to resist the temptation to have a look at my mobile phone. In the future, I would still like to try to have a day without screens. Indeed, I am convinced it would enable me to do more cultural and artistic activities like when I was children and didn't have a phone.

Submitted by Amaury on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 22:21

I feel very concerned about this subject because as a student taking online courses, I spend well over 12 hours in front of screens each day. I think a large majority today experience some form of addiction with screens and especially the phone. The recommendations Amanda is making are helpful to me, especially removing unnecessary notifications. Personally I get about 300-400 notifications a day and I think that sorting it out would decrease my screen time. On the other hand, I don't think that stopping using screens altogether for a few days or even a week is achievable because in our time it is a real need.

Submitted by Louis Monfort on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 15:40

With the confinement my "watchtime" exploded, having to stay at home, taking classes at a distance, the only possibility to have exchanges was on connected platforms. A bottomless spiral... To remedy this I also stopped the notifications on my cell phone, put my cell phone out of my room to finally work in peace. Having your phone next to you during distance learning is a dangerous distraction. I think that screen time should be reduced to a fixed amount of time, not to exceed it and to be satisfied with it. In the years to come, the development of digital detoxes will multiply. The hyperconnectivity of society will soon have no limit, some people will have difficulty with it. One of the questions we can ask ourselves is, will we end up overcoming the digitalization of society? We are still young, but as we get older will we still be able to cope with it?

Submitted by Ewenqfl on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 15:20

I agree with what the listener is saying. It is true that I am like most young people of my age, almost constantly on my mobile. Spending almost 10 hours a day on the screen and often accumulating several of them. I think it's first of all because I grew up with the development of new technologies and especially social networks. It has become normal for me to be constantly with my mobile, computer... so even if it allows us to keep in touch with our friends especially in these special times, I realise that at the end of the day I haven't learnt much of anything interesting and that most of the content I look at is futile and without interest. With the distance learning courses, I'm already on my laptop a lot. I think it's time to try and do what Amanda did and only use them when necessary. In any case I would like to reduce my screen time, to stop completely would be utopian, especially at the moment because they allow me to follow the courses but to reduce my screen time and especially not to use them when I am with people.

Submitted by al72 on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 13:10

As far as I'm concerned, I can relate to this short podcast. During the first lockdown in March I was spending nearly twelve hours a day on my phone, every day for over three months. Having all the classes remote doesn't help, I can't concentrate for more than an hour, if I don't look at my phone I feel like I'm going to miss important information: like a schedule change, a cancelled class, a reminder of work to do. So after this confinement, I decided to get as far away from all screens as possible as some days I unlocked my phone nearly a hundred times a day. Moreover I set up a time reminder on instagram that notifies me when I go over the allowed time. These first steps I took made me aware of my consequent screen time. Now, when I work I put up the airplane mode on my iPhone in order to avoid all of the disruptions.

Submitted by CélioPeron on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 11:06

Personally, I am someone who use his phone too much. I am using my phone for 7h a day during the week and next to 10h a day during the weekend. Most of the time I spend on my phone is a waste of time, I do nothing on it, I just look at it. I am sure I am addict to my phone because when I do not look at my phone for one hour, I feel like I have to unlock it even when I know I have nothing to see or to do with it. I have already thought about doing a digital detox weekend or week just to learn the life without my phone. For the time being I haven’t done it but that is, for sure, something I am going to do in the coming years.

Submitted by PL28 on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 18:59

I would like to tell you about my personal case. I'm not a phone person, but I still spend about six hours a day on the phone. I find it very important and I often think that I would like to go back in time to when there were no telephones and live there for a few moments. I'm only 20 years old but I've noticed an evolution in the use of the telephone. When I was at school, I didn't use my phone much, it was only used to call if I had a problem, but seven or eight years later, I can't help but notice that the phone has become more important in my life. Indeed, after every class I feel obliged to look at my phone, especially to consult social networks. Despite this, I think my screen time is still reasonable compared to some of my classmates.

Submitted by PL28 on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 14:39

I would like to tell you about my personal case. I'm not a phone person, but I still spend about six hours a day on the phone. I find it very important and I often think that I would like to go back in time to when there were no telephones and live there for a few moments. I'm only 20 years old but I've noticed an evolution in the use of the telephone. When I was at school, I didn't use my phone much, it was only used to call if I had a problem, but seven or eight years later, I can't help but notice that the phone has become more important in my life. Indeed, after every class I feel obliged to look at my phone, especially to consult social networks. Despite this, I think my screen time is still reasonable compared to some of my classmates.

Submitted by Arthurtz on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 11:05

Personally, as a student in lock-down, I turned off most of my notifications, except the ones with friends, but the temptation of the phone just next to me is a really big deal. I've juste found that my average screen time for last week was over 14h per day, including my laptop. And it will be very difficult to reduce because I work on my laptop all day long, and when I'm not on it, I use my phone to check on friends or social media to interact because I'm stuck at home and do not have that much classes at university to see them. So it helps me to stay in touch, but every notification is a distraction for when I'm working on something so I turn on the "do not disturb" mode and try to hide my phone.

Submitted by yomisaurio on Tue, 16/03/2021 - 03:39

I think I need a difital dextox too, with the quarentine I get really tired everyday.

Submitted by bolano on Sun, 28/02/2021 - 12:21

İ am using my laptop and phone for more than twelve hour per day to make useful research to complete my Ph.D and to keep in touch with my friends and relatives. I am far from home because of my job. I think it could be rewarding for me to do a digital detox. İ have already started by switching off all the notifications on my phone. Furthermore, I regulate the time I spend on social media. No more than 2 hours a day. İ could ensure you it has increased significantly my professional and intellectual productivity. The next step will be as Vince mentioned to ask myself each time I would like to use my phone or my computer, whether it is worthy and what is it for? İt will indubitably increase my awareness of the grid my devices still have on me. Thanks.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Tue, 23/02/2021 - 19:51

I would like to do a digital detox I think it's necessary, because we all are becoming depending on entirely our devices, especially our smartphones. So we waste our time, whereas we could make a better use of that.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 14:37

Nope, I've just got new gadgets! ;)

Submitted by mohamad90 on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 12:51

I did some of these advices in my life and enjoy it. I think these principles are intrinsic. So every one can think about his life style with digital advices and solve his problems by his way. Although reading books like "Log off" is shortcut.
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Submitted by Lida Mey on Mon, 08/02/2021 - 16:00

Hello. A digital detox is a great idea. I really need one and Amanda gave me key information to begin. Thanks.

Submitted by marlio96 on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 00:06

I've tried to take a digital detox, but I haven't been able to do it, it's very difficult for me when I tried the first time I received a lot of notifications and all of that was very important, the second and last time I tried to do it almost I achieved it, I think if my friends had helped me when I requested them not to send me messages for one day I am sure I would have been able to achieve it.

Submitted by ANACASTIBLANCO on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 11:57

That sounds like a great idea! I mean, everyone is more attentive to their devices than to their lifes with the family or friends. I confess I'm connected to three or four devices all the time because of my work, but I'd like to try this detox to improve my social interaction.